Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
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Teachers’ access to high quality training variable and reliant on access to ‘Golden Thread’ reforms

Ofsted has today published the findings from phase 2 of its independent review of teachers’ professional development in schools.

  • Early Career Framework (ECF) generally being implemented successfully, with training having a noticeable impact on pedagogy and behaviour management.
  • National Professional Qualifications (NPQ) highly valued by those who undertake them.
  • Evidence that not all teachers are benefitting from the ‘Golden Thread’ reforms, and some are receiving more varied and sometimes low-quality development opportunities.

The report finds that the ECF is generally being implemented successfully, with early career teachers agreeing that their training is effective and having a noticeable impact on their career, particularly in the areas of pedagogy and behaviour management. High quality mentoring and investment from their school and from Trust leaders were found to be essential factors in an early career teacher’s success.

NPQs are also largely seen as relevant and high-quality. In the most effective schools, the learning from NPQs is being used more widely as a tool to improve staff retention and make whole-school improvements. Teachers and leaders value the new range of available NPQs and leaders told Ofsted that they are keen for the funding to continue so that more staff can have access in future.

However, Ofsted found that less than half of those surveyed who were not on an ECF or NPQ pathway thought they were benefiting from a high quality and relevant teacher development programme. In several schools visited for the research, the teacher development offer was piecemeal and not strategically aligned with school improvement or teacher development priorities. School leaders told Ofsted that workload pressures, and the cost of providing cover while teachers attended training, were long term barriers to teacher development.

The report also highlights some innovative ways that the most effective schools are providing staff with high-quality teacher development, including flexible formats and methods, and networking and partnership working.

Ofsted Chief Inspector, Sir Martyn Oliver said:

I am pleased to be able to report that the Early Career Framework and National Professional Qualifications are providing teachers with well-constructed and effective development opportunities.

High-quality teaching has a long-term positive effect on pupils’ life chances, particularly for children from disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds. So it is important that all teachers benefit from development opportunities, based on the best available evidence.

Notes to editors

  1. The review was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) in 2021 and was designed to explore teachers’ recent experiences of training and development, as well as how the government’s early career framework (ECF) and updated range of national professional qualifications (NPQs) are being implemented in schools. The findings from the first phase of the research were published in May 2023.

  2. Ofsted commissioned research from YouGov and the Institute for Employment Studies to provide additional data to sit alongside it’s own research on this topic.

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