An Investigation of Headteachers' and Teachers' Views Towards Science-specific CPD

Shona Macleod, Nalia Thurgood, Helen Everett

10 July 2013

The aim of this research was to investigate the views of senior staff, with responsibility for leading CPD strategy, towards science-specific CPD. Within the study there was a particular focus on how schools and FE colleges were evaluating CPD.

Commissioned by Myscience and the National Science Learning Centre, the research provides the opportunity to understand more about the attitudes of CPD leaders and what affects their decision making process in relation to participation in subject-specific CPD. Such insights should help to inform strategies to support and encourage further participation in science-specific CPD and the national and regional Science Learning Centre/s. The evaluation involved: a rapid review of existing evidence; a telephone interview survey with CPD leaders; and in-depth qualitative interviews with CPD leaders and focus groups with heads of science and science teachers. The research was conducted between June 2012 and March 2013.

Key Findings

  • Internal CPD is increasingly schools’ or FE colleges’ first choice of CPD provision. The data indicated that this is partially due to financial constraints, but also an increasing recognition of the expertise available within the school or college
  • CPD leaders regard internal CPD as the most effective form as it can be tailored to the needs of the school and the effects can be ongoing. Science staff favour external CPD over internal CPD.
  • Most schools are evaluating CPD, although this occurs to a varying extent across schools and there is generally an absence of a systematic approach to evaluation.
  • There is a widespread lack of understanding on how to approach the evaluation of the impact of CPD on pupils.