Giving teachers a formal entitlement to 35 hours of CPD training would boost pupil attainment by two-thirds of a GCSE grade, a think tank has said.

The Education Policy Institute study also claimed introducing a right to high-quality CPD could result in around 12,000 extra teachers staying in the profession.

But they warn a CPD entitlement policy would have to be rolled out effectively by government at a national level.

James Zuccollo, the report author, said: “Government reforms to teacher training and the development of new professional qualifications are a step in the right direction, but it must continue to improve access to high-quality professional development to realise the benefits shown in our research.

“We hope that positive reforms to professional development are included in the government’s long-term education recovery programme.”

James Zuccollo

The government is said to be exploring plans for improving the CPD offer for teachers as part of its Covid learning loss strategy.

EPI was commissioned by Wellcome to evaluate the costs and benefits of entitling all teachers to 35 hours of high quality CPD every year.

TALIS (Teacher and Learning International Survey) 2018 data estimates that England’s primary teachers spend on average 55 hours a year on CPD.

For lower-secondary teachers, this is 43 hours – both below the international average of 62 hours a year.

But the quality of CPD that meets the Department for Education’s criteria for high quality is much lower, the EPI said.

Only 10 per cent of teachers that took part in a Wellcome CPD pilot had undertaken 35 hours of CPD in the past year that had met all these criteria.

EPI say randomised controlled trials found that high-quality CPD for mainstream teachers has an average effect on their pupils’ attainment equivalent to one month of extra learning.

But there were also CPD programmes that had “no measurable effect” on attainment.

The study comes after the Chartered College for Teaching suggested a national badge scheme to quality assure CPD.

EPI stated that if a pupil began school in the first year such an entitlement was implemented, they would expected to achieve an additional two-thirds of a GCSE grade over their schooling life.

EPI say they took previous research on the impact of high-quality CPD on attainment, and then modelled what the impact of this would be if applied over the course of a pupil’s entire time at school.

This grade boost in turn would improve their lifetime earnings by over £6,000, researchers estimate.

The EPI said, if rolled out nationally, a 10-year £4bn programme delivering this high quality CPD could generate a net society benefit of £61bn.

The National Education Union said it supported a boost to the amount of high quality CPD teachers receive.

But Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary, said a set number of CPD hours is “at risk of becoming a tick-box exercise” and that any entitlement based on hours “must allow for a broad range of learning for teachers and must include opportunities to evaluate the impact of their CPD on their pupil’s learning”.

School leaders’ union NAHT supports a funded entitlement to high quality CPD, having previous recommended it to government.

Sir Kevan Collins, the government’s education recovery commissioner, said last week that “nothing matters more than the quality of teaching”.

DfE has been approached for comment.