Teacher training budgets have dropped for the first time in six years as tightening budgets forced schools to cut back, new research shows.
Spending on staff development fell in 2016-17 for the first time since 2012, dropping by 12 per cent in secondary schools and 7 per cent in primaries.
The analysis, commissioned by the Teacher Development Trust, also reveals that CPD spending varies dramatically across England.
Primaries in Solihull and Blackpool on average allocate less than £400 per teacher for CPD, while their counterparts in Hampshire and Durham spend over £1,000.
At secondary level, the differences are even starker, varying from £163.50 per teacher in Bury to an average of £1,045 per teacher in Barking & Dagenham.
'Postcode lottery' on teacher CPD
John Collier, director of teaching and learning for St Bart’s Academy Trust in Stoke-on-Trent, said he has had to cut spending on resources like books and stationery to preserve the CPD budget.
“If funding continues to get tighter, we'll struggle to fund professional development at the current levels,” he said.
Natalie Perera, executive director of the Education Policy Institute thinktank, said the “worrying” new CPD figures showed the cuts are eating into vital school spending.
“This goes beyond the back office and other ‘efficiency’ savings that the Department for Education has encouraged schools to make,” she said.
“The Department for Educatino now needs to consider how it can better support schools to prioritise important areas of expenditure, including professional development for teachers."
The government has claimed that schools are guilty of inefficient spending, with academies minister Lord Agnew angering many by betting a bottle of champagne he could find waste in any school.
In response to the data, produced by SchoolDash, the Teacher Development Trust is launching a free benchmarking tool to allow schools to compare their CPD spending against others in their area.
“Schools are facing significant funding issues, which are forcing them to spend less on CPD for teachers. This is a great concern, particularly at a time when teacher retention and job satisfaction are big issues,” said trust chief executive David Weston.
“Funding pressures are clearly showing on schools – first they’ve been cutting glue sticks and computers and now headteachers are having to cut investment in staff. The fact that it’s such a postcode lottery for staff as to whether they can access development and training is a worry.”