Schools' spending on teacher training drops for first time in decade amid budget pressures

'It will be students who lose out as they will not get the same quality of teaching'

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
@Eleanor_Busby
Wednesday 09 January 2019 01:03
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Hundreds of headteachers march on Westminster over school funding ‘crisis

Schools’ spending on teacher training has dropped for the first time this decade despite a retention and recruitment crisis in the profession, research finds.

Tight school budgets are forcing schools to cut their teacher development budgets, a report says.

The analysis, carried out for education charity Teacher Development Trust, found that teacher training budgets have reduced by 12 per cent in secondary schools and 7 per cent in primary schools.

It also reveals that investment in continuing professional development (CPD) varies greatly across England.

For example, secondary schools in Bury allocate less than £165 per teacher, whereas secondary schools in Barking and Dagenham allocate an average of more than £1,000 per teacher.

And other cash-strapped schools have reduced spending on books, glue sticks, computers and other learning resources in an effort to try and provide adequate CPD for teachers, the research found.

John Collier, director of teaching and learning for St. Bart’s Academy Trust in Stoke-on-Trent, has cut back on stationery and books to fund teacher development. He warned: “If funding continues to get tighter, we'll struggle to fund professional development at the current levels.”

David Weston, CEO of the Teacher Development Trust said: “Schools are facing significant funding issues, which are forcing them to spend less on CPD for teachers. This is a great concern, particularly at a time when teacher retention and job satisfaction are big issues.

“We know that CPD is linked to improved results for pupils, plus better staff morale and retention.

“Funding pressures are clearly showing on schools – first they’ve been cutting glue sticks and computers and now headteachers are having to cut investment in staff.”

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Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said the figures came amid the “worst recruitment and retention crisis” that school leaders have ever known.

He said: “It is particularly galling at a time when last year we saw more teachers leaving the profession then joining the profession. I think this makes pretty bleak reading frankly.”

Mr Barton warned: “It will be students who lose out as they won’t be getting the same quality of teaching in the long term. And we are likely to see teacher burnout figures getting worse.”

This week the National Education Union (NEU) accused the government of breaking a promise over school funding after nearly 5,000 schools saw their budgets fall.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: “This is yet another casualty of the government’s woefully inadequate school funding policy that is putting headteachers in a terrible position when it comes to making spending choices.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “There are no great schools without great teachers – and we have committed to improving support and professional development for teachers at all stages of their career, particularly for those in those vital first few years of teaching, through the new Early Career Framework.

“While there is more money going into our schools than ever before, we do recognise the budgeting challenges schools face and that we are asking them to do more. That’s why we’re supporting schools and head teachers, and their local authorities, to make the most of every pound.”

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