The education select committee has called on the government to roll out an annual entitlement to continual professional development (CPD) for all teachers, to tackle shortages of staff.
Schools Week reports that the committee’s findings of a recent inquiry warn that the government lacks a long term plan to ease teacher shortages.
The committee urged the government to recognise the effective role it plays in securing a yearly entitlement to CPD for every teacher. Select committee members also recommended “targeted funding” for CPD, as well as making it a criterion of Ofsted inspections.
Chair of the Committee, Neil Carmichael MO, said a “long-term plan” must be implemented by the Department for Education (DfE), which includes raising the status of teaching and ensuring access to professional development.
Any delay in addressing the problem would see more and more teachers “driven away from the classroom and into alternative careers”, Carmichael warned.
He added: “Holding fire on major policy changes and allowing a longer lead-in for government initiatives would allow schools time to focus on subject-specific professional development, rather than being distracted by the demands of the latest Whitehall directive.”
But the DfE has said secondary postgraduate recruitment is “at its highest since 2011”, and the government would be investing more than £1.3 billion in recruitment over this parliament.
The MPs’ report stated that teachers in England have no entitlement to CPD – even though teachers in Scotland are entitled to 35 hours a year, with teachers in Singapore given 100 hours a year. Teachers in England may feel less supported and be more likely to leave the profession, the inquiry found.
A spokesperson for the committee told Schools Week that the details of any annual entitlement to CPD – such as whether it could become statutory or a minimum number of hours – should be decided between school leaders and the government.
Although CPD is provided in English schools, sessions are usually about curriculum changes, Ofsted and Prevent training, experts told the committee.
Instead, the report strongly recommended subject-specific CPD, to ensure the “maintenance and acquisition of subject knowledge” among teachers.