Almost two-thirds of FE teachers do not spend any time at all on CPD, according to the Further Education Workforce Data for England report, published by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) and exclusively revealed in Tes today.
The report, which is based on Staff Individualised Record (SIR) data from 102 colleges and a number of providers, says that, in 2015-16, the average FE teacher spent 15 hours a year on CPD. But that average masks the fact that 60 per cent reported spending no time at all on that kind of formal training.
'CPD is essential'
This was the first time that the SIR has collected data on CPD, so no comparative data exists. But sector experts said the low number of teachers engaging in CPD was partly due to the large proportion of FE staff who work part-time. The University and College Union (UCU) urged college leaders to ensure that all staff have access to professional development opportunities.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said it was vital that teachers were supported to refresh their skills and share knowledge during their careers, so they could remain up to date with industrial and pedagogical developments.
“CPD for staff is an essential part of post-school education that benefits both the recipient and their students," she said. "Busy staff already have massive workloads, so colleges need to make time and resources available so all staff have the opportunity to access CPD.
“Colleges should be looking for ways to share best practice around CPD and work with nearby colleges to deliver it.”
David Powell, director of the Education and Training Consortium of higher education and FE teacher-training providers, led by the University of Huddersfield, said: “Initial teacher training is just that. It starts people on a journey. It needs to be followed up by a comprehensive, sustained development programme. The figures do not seem to suggest that.”
He added: “What I know from some CPD we have been running is that it is increasingly difficult for people to get release for external training. But what about internal development?”
There could also be issues with CPD not being recorded as such, and therefore not featuring in the statistics, said Mr Powell.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We want to build a world-class further education and skills system that will give people the opportunity to fulfil their potential and high quality teachers are crucial to this. Continued professional development will help all teachers improve their knowledge and skills. Further education providers are responsible for making sure their teaching staff can access the training and support they need.”
This is an edited version of an article in the 16 June edition of Tes. Subscribers can read the full story here. To subscribe, click here. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here.