Are We Realising the Full Potential of Teachers' Professional Learning in Schools in England?

Policy Issues and Recommendations from a National Study

Published in: Professional Development in Education, v. 37, no. 5 (Special Issue: Professional development in teacher education: European perspectives), Nov. 2011, p. 741-758

Posted on RAND.org on November 01, 2011

by David J Pedder, V. Darleen Opfer

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The purpose of this article is to bring together findings developed from the Schools and Continuing Professional Development in England – State of the Nation Study. This large-scale national study, commissioned by the Training and Development Agency for Schools, investigated the range and kinds of continuing professional development (CPD) activities in which teachers at primary and secondary schools in England participate and the kinds of support provided by schools. Teachers' professional learning practices and perspectives were researched in relation to three main themes: the benefits, status and effectiveness of CPD; the planning and organization of CPD; and access to CPD. The research was based on a review of the UK literature related to teachers' CPD for the period 2004–2007, qualitative research (school snapshots) at nine primary and three secondary schools, and a survey of a national representative sample of teachers. Our analysis concludes that teachers' professional learning in England is generally ineffective and lacks school-level systems and supports. As such, the potential of teachers' professional learning for enhancing the quality of classroom teaching and learning in schools remains largely untapped.

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