All teachers and technicians should have regular, high-quality continuing professional development (CPD) throughout their career so that they can improve student learning.
Why it’s important
A good teacher is the most important factor in encouraging students to want to learn science.
Providing teachers with opportunities for good professional development can:
- make sure their teaching remains relevant and topical
- expand their subject knowledge
- increase their confidence, passion for the subject and desire to stay in teaching
- help them to connect with the wider science community.
What we’re doing
Teachers' professional development is a key part of our science education priority area.
Access to continuing professional development
We’ve committed £45 million to building and supporting the National STEM Learning Centre. It’s one of the main places for teachers and technicians around the UK to access CPD.
Bursaries are available through Project ENTHUSE. They can be used towards travel, staff cover and course fees for teachers and technicians.
Research shows that schools want more guidance on the quality of CPD they commission. In partnership with the Education Endowment Foundation, we’re scoping a project to design and test a system for teachers that will make it easier for them to find quality-assured CPD.
The Wellcome CPD Challenge is exploring what changes need to be made to the education system so that all teachers are entitled to take part in high-quality, predominantly subject-specific CPD. The three-year pilot study, which started in September 2018, is running in 40 schools across South Yorkshire. Read our reports on progress during the first and second [PDF 2.72MB] years.
Research into the impact of continuing professional development
Read our reports:
- Piloting a CPD Quality Assurance System [PDF 2.05MB] looks at how the quality of CPD could be assured through a system of accreditation. You can also read the evaluation report [PDF 1.62MB].
- The effects of high-quality professional development on teachers and students finds that professional development makes a significant difference to student attainment and teacher retention.
- Quality assurance of teachers’ continuing professional development looks at lessons from other quality assurance systems, and how they could be applied to teachers’ CPD in England.
- Developing great subject teaching [PDF 1.84MB] finds that teachers are less likely to participate in subject-specific CPD than generic pedagogic CPD, even though it is more beneficial. David Weston, Chief Executive of the Teacher Development Trust, comments on the report findings in The Times Educational Supplement.
- Improving science teacher retention [PDF 1.27MB] explores how access to CPD helps to keep more teachers in the classroom. It shows that science teachers are more likely than non-science teachers to leave the profession.
Celebrating exceptional science teaching
At the annual ENTHUSE Awards, we celebrate exceptional teachers and technicians who have made a significant impact on science teaching in their schools. Find out about past winners and how to apply.
- See our work on the impact of CPD on primary school teachers with very little science expertise [ZIP 2.83MB].
- Science education is one of our priority areas – find out more about what we're doing to inspire teachers and students.
- See our educational resources for teachers.