A new report by Pro Bono Economics (PBE) suggests that it would be more cost-effective for the Government to increase investment in teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD) than to recruit and train new educators.
Commissioned by the PTI (nee The Prince’s Teaching Institute), the report estimates that annually giving teachers 35 hours of high-quality CPD would result in a 2% rise in the retention rate, equivalent to around 12,000 teachers per year.
The rise would go some way to ameliorating the current teacher shortage, with the sector facing a two-pronged problem. Besides the need to replace the 15-20,000 teachers leaving the profession each year, an additional 11,000 will be required over the next three years to teach the extra 160,000 pupils set to enter public sector secondary schools.
PBE estimates that the benefits from retaining teachers would outweigh costs within two to three years.
As well as helping reduce the current teacher shortage and reduce the expense of training new ones, the report concludes that additional investment in CPD could generate significant advantages in the future, too, with retained teachers making for a more stable school environment and better learning outcomes.
There needs to be greater focus on retaining the thousands of teachers that leave the profession each year – Jon Franklin, PBE
“Previous evidence has demonstrated that investments in teacher CPD are likely to have significant long-term benefits through the impact on student results and subsequent earnings,” the report said.
“However, these benefits may take a matter of decades to be realised as pupils need to progress through the education system and enter the labour market before the economic value is realised.”
In April 2021, research from the Education Policy Institute found that the extra hours of teachers’ CPD could boost the lifetime earnings of the average student by around £2,300. Applying this figure across the country for a 10-year period, it was estimated that a CPD entitlement programme costing £4bn would generate a net societal benefit of around £61bn through higher earnings.
“The education sector in England is facing a teacher supply crisis that has not been helped by the added pressures exerted on teachers and pupils by the pandemic,” said Jon Franklin, chief economist at PBE.
“Consistent annual shortfalls in secondary school teacher recruitment over the last decade mean the gaps are too large for the sector to recruit its way out of this problem. There needs to be greater focus on retaining the thousands of teachers that leave the profession each year.”
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