Heads urge improved professional training for teachers in new Sutton Trust report

Leading headteachers have joined the Sutton Trust to urge the three main political parties to improve professional training for teachers in a new report published today.

They are calling the trio to ensure all teachers and school leaders are entitled to professional development backed by a College of Teaching and a revitalised National College for School Leadership.

The 17 heads have put forward five proposals in the report called Developing Teachers and drew up their ideas after discussions with colleagues from 10 countries at a summit on professional development jointly organised by the Sutton Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in November.

Sutton Trust chief executive, Dr Lee Elliot Major, said: “Brilliant teaching can transform lives so it should shock us that today’s teachers do not all benefit from the professional training they deserve.

“We know that the quality of classroom teaching has by far the biggest impact on pupils, particularly those from poorer homes. Improving the continuing professional development available to teachers should be a key priority in our drive to improve social mobility.”

The report argues that improved teacher ¬development will positively impact on pupil attainment, particular those from disadvantaged backgrounds and it has already been presented to secretary of state for education, Nicky Morgan, shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, and minister of state for schools, David Laws.

It highlights five ways in which they believe the quality of teaching could be improved which are placing greater trust in teachers and increase their autonomy, strengthen professional development for all teachers, use evidence to improve standards, have a more developmental approach to accountability and encourage collaboration.

Convenor of the heads and former head of Morpeth School in Tower Hamlets, Sir Alasdair MacDonald, said: “There has been a huge improvement in the attainment of our pupils across England’s schools in recent years.

“We now have a much greater understanding of how schools can make a difference, and, although there are still too many young people failing to achieve their potential, by underpinning our national system of schools with the values and the five key points outlined in this report, we believe both the learning of pupils and the professional development of teachers will benefit greatly.”

Developing Teachers follows on from the Sutton Trust’s October 2014 report, What Makes Great Teaching, which reviews more than 200 pieces of research to identify the elements of teaching with the strongest evidence of improving attainment.

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