Schools must ‘fiercely protect’ teacher training despite cuts

Leader of Ambition Institute says it will have to 'continually demonstrate' to schools the long-term benefits of investing in CPD

Martin George

Schools have been urged to 'fiercely protect' teacher training despite the funding squeeze.

Schools facing squeezed budgets should “fiercely protect” teacher training from cuts, the head of a new training organisation has said.

Melanie Renowden, interim chief executive of the Ambition Institute, said that one of the new organisation's tasks will be to “continually demonstrate” to schools the long-term benefits of investing in CPD, despite budget pressures.

The self-styled "graduate school" was officially launched last week, following the merger of Ambition School Leadership and the Institute of Teaching – to give them a “greater impact”.

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It says its programmes will offer support to "educators" at all stages of their careers, from new teachers through to the chief executives and trustees of multi-academy trusts.

In January, the Teacher Development Trust released research showing that teacher training budgets have fallen for the first time in six years as schools looked to make savings.

Ms Renowden told Tes it was an issue she comes up against “all the time”.

She said: “We know that when schools are having to make really difficult decisions about funding, and particularly when that affects staffing as well, they will look for the places that they feel are cuttable, and one of the things that feels more easily cuttable would be teacher development, so CPD budgets can often be a casualty of really pressurised school finances.

“We think we have got a job to do in continually demonstrating the return on the investment that schools get by investing in educator development, and also making sure that when they are putting resource into it – and that can be time, it does not need to be spend – that it needs to really work.”

Asked whether it was inevitable that schools that are introducing four-and-a-half-day weeks and cutting subjects would reduce teacher training, she said: “It’s going to sound trite to say ‘I hope not’, but it’s a really tough decision for headteachers to be having to balance the urgent [and] important with those things that are going to deliver a return over the longer term.

"I absolutely understand that.”

Ms Renowden said that as a trustee of a multi-academy trust, she could see the trade-offs that heads have to make.

However, she added: “I hope that some of what we will be able to do is demonstrate that this is something that you need to fiercely protect.”

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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