Early Career Continuing Professional Development (CPD) - Exploratory Research

Matt Walker, Suzanne Straw, Jack Worth and Hilary Grayson

05 November 2018

Research report on the DfE website

The DfE commissioned NFER to gather evidence on the development needs of early career teachers (ECTs) and effective practice in meeting needs. We defined early career teachers as teachers in their second or third year.

The project included:

  • a rapid review of UK and international evidence
  • analysis of data from the School Workforce Census to support sampling of schools
  • in-depth school case studies involving interviews with 41 ECTs, 37 mid-career teachers (MCTs), and 22 CPD leads across ten primary schools and ten secondary schools.

Key Findings

NQT year

  • Key development needs related to developing knowledge and skills in: behaviour management; assessment; pedagogy; and supporting pupils with particular needs.
  • Positive views of induction related to:
    • a balanced package of support, typically involving a standardised training programme alongside personalised, teacher-led opportunities
    • a supportive whole school culture, where induction was the start of a professional development journey
    • a range of support options, with informal support from a variety of colleagues, including a senior leader professional mentor and a subject mentor from their department/key stage.

Second and third year

  • Training and development was required to support progression into subject, year group/key stage, or other middle leadership and specialist roles.
  • Many teachers wanted to ‘hone their craft’ and broaden their skillset, to support their teaching of year 6, GCSE and A-level pupils and pupils with different educational needs.
  • Dedicated CPD for RQTs was limited although many continued to receive informal support from a senior colleague. However, they could access formal CPD open to all staff. Positive views of this related to:
    • a supportive and developmental school ethos
    • opportunities to learn about a range of career options
    • personalised, light-touch training and support.
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