The Teacher Development Trust has commissioned a team from Durham University, the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE) and the Institute of Education to undertake a review of the impact teachers’ professional learning and continuing professional development and Learning  (CPDL).

The first stage of this process is to complete an ‘umbrella’ review of the field. This means synthesising recent reviews of this area to identify the nature of the evidence base and assess the strength of the findings and recommendations. The aim is to identify where there is consensus in what we know, and how robust this knowledge base is.

So far the team have identified more than 40 reviews of teachers professional development and learning published since 2003. They have classified the reviews according to their methods and criteria to help with the evaluation of the findings. This will help to understand how consistent the research evidence in this area is and understand how secure these findings are.

The next stage in the review process is to analyse the weight of evidence for specific sub claims, for example in relation to specific  subject areas.We will then work with practitioners and policy makers to identify implications for policy and practice and key questions for the next phase of the work.

The final phase of the work , planned for next year, is to produce a systematic map of studies of the impact of CPD and to identify the gaps in the field, as well as to undertake a meta-analysis if there is sufficient data available.

Steve Higgins is Professor of Education at Durham University. You can follow him on Twitter @profstig.