Why is CPD so important?

Why is CPD so important?



Research shows that effective CPD helps children succeed and teachers thrive.

You might find it particularly useful to share the following resources with colleagues and other leaders.

David Weston, the founder/CEO of the Teacher Development Trust and the chair of the U.K. Department for Education’s Teacher Professional Development Expert Group, recently spoke at TEDx. Watch his video, where he outlines how developing great teachers can change the world.

We know from Viviane Robinson’s research that the most effective way that leaders can improve outcomes for children and young people is to focus on professional development. It may be surprising, but focussing on this rather than on the quality of teaching alone brings greater improvement for learner outcomes.

This chart summarises the research findings:

robinson graph

We also know from Sutton Trust research that the difference between the effect of poor teaching and that of highly effective teaching is just under half a year’s extra progress for most students.

Those from disadvantaged backgrounds are particularly affected: they stand to benefit even more than their classmates from effective teaching, but are similarly more sensitive to poor teaching. This underscores the need to raise the quality of teaching.


Finally, we know from the EPPI-Centre studies in to Collaborative Professional Development that when professional development is carried out effectively it has a host of benefits for both staff and students.


Together, these studies provide a compelling case that every school should be prioritising the professional development of its staff in order to bring about profound and lasting improvement.


Robinson, V.M.J., Lloyd, C., & Rowe, K.J. (2008). The impact of leadership on student outcomes: an analysis of the differential effects of leadership type. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44(5)635-674

Machin, S., Murphy, R., Hanushek, E. (2011). Improving the impact of teachers on pupil achievement in the UK – interim findings. http://www.suttontrust.com/public/documents/1teachers-impact-report-final.pdf

Cordingley, P. et. al (2003-2007) http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk/cms/Default.aspx?tabid=274

Effective CPD has a powerful impact on pupil outcomes, particularly for those pupils who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

On 26th September, our CEO, David Weston, delivered a keynote address at the National Pupil Premium Conference in Birmingham. You can download the annotated slides from his talk here .Slides from David Weston’s talk at ResearchED.

Blog – How to develop great teaching

Blog – CPD Butterflies small actions that spark big changes

The next important question to ask is what does great CPD look like? Here is TDT’s choice of high-quality professional development articles and discussions for schools

Teacher Professional Learning and Development – A great place to start: based on New Zealand CPD meta-analysis of research, full of advice for effective professional learning.

What makes CPD Great? A brief best-practice guide from GoodCPDGuide.com

Ofsted: Good professional development in schools – A good practice report, considering what makes CPD work so well in successful school

Great professional development which leads to great pedagogy: nine claims from research – by the National College for School Leadership

Professional Learning in the Learning Profession – A Status report on teacher development in the United States and abroad (quite long)

The surprising science of workplace training – an assemblage of common misconceptions about training and development, corrected by research findings

Believers, Seekers and Sceptics: What teachers think about continuing professional development – 6-page Wellcome Trust report on CPD attitudes

Blog, Joe Kirby: What makes effective CPD?

Blog, David Weston: 7 Deadly Sins of Teacher Development

Blog, Andrew Day: CPD, how not to do it

Article Sarah Coskeran – Leading CPD

Professor Rob Coe discusses the findings of the TDT’s review of what works in teacher develoment – Developing Great Teaching. Find out more and download the research.

Other papers:

Cordingley P, Bell M, Rundell B, Evans D (2003) ‘The impact of collaborative CPD on classroom teaching and learning.’

Cordingley P, Bell M, Evans D, Firth A (2005) The impact of collaborative CPD on classroom teaching and learning. Review: What do teacher impact data tell us about collaborative CPD?

Cordingley P, Bell M, Thomason S, Firth A (2005) The impact of collaborative continuing professional development (CPD) on classroom teaching and learning. Review: How do collaborative and sustained CPD and sustained but not collaborative CPD affect teach

Cordingley, P., Bell, M. (2012) ‘Understanding What Enables High Quality Professional Learning: A report on the research evidence.’ CUREE and Pearson School Improvement

Opfer, V. Darleen and Pedder, David (2010) ‘Access to Continuous Professional Development by teachers in England’, Curriculum Journal, 21: 4, 453

Opfer, V. Darleen and Pedder, David (2011) ‘The lost promise of teacher professional development in England’, European Journal of Teacher Education, 34: 1, 3

Robinson, V. M. J. & Timperley, H. S. (2007) ‘The leadership of the improvement of teaching and learning: Lessons from initiatives that have positive outcomes for students’ Australian Journal of Education.

Villegas-Reimers E. (2003) ‘Teacher Professional Development: an international review of the literature’ International Institute for Educational Planning: Paris. UNESCO

Whitehouse, C. (2011) ‘Effective continuing professional development for teachers’, Centre for Education Research and Policy. London, UK: AQA.

Brighouse, T and Moon, B (2013) ‘Taking Teacher Development Seriously’ Open University

Article, David Weston: How effective is the professional development undertaken by teachers?

Blog, David Weston: If we know how to make CPD more effective, why isn’t it happening?

Tim Brighouse on CPD

Dylan Wiliam on CPD