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Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

Golden Thread or Gilded Cage? An analysis of Department for Education support for the continuing professional development of teachers

24 November 2022


Executive Summary


This report was developed over a ten-month period building on extensive consultation with over 50 professionals directly involved with CPD provision for teachers in England. The report seeks to highlight the strengths, weaknesses and unforeseen impacts of the Early Career Framework (ECF) and National Professional Qualifications (NPQs), one year into the national roll-out of the ECF. Particular strengths of the ECF include:


  • - Provision of a coherent programme of professional development over an extended period
    - Recognition of the importance of mentoring and coaching in professional development
    - An emphasis on wellbeing particularly in relation to introducing strategies to manage workload
    - Different providers developing their own programmes based on the ECF has the potential to provide
    comparative learning opportunities across the sector.
    In addition to these benefits, the NPQs offer a range of different pathways that help to map out
    opportunities for alternative career stages.
    Concerns with the ECF and NPQ programmes are sub-divided into content and implementation.
    Concerns with content
    These include:
    - A high level of repetition both between the initial Core Content Framework (CCF) and the ECF as well
    across the NPQs; this discourages learners and means content is missed
    - A lack of progression from CCF to ECF through to NPQs; statements are repeated rather than reinforced
    in any meaningful manner
    - A limited research base underpinning these programmes; alternative views that would serve to deepen
    teachers’ professional understanding are not presented
    - Generic content that cannot be contextualised; a limited range of case studies are used rather than
    drawing on practice in the teacher’s own setting
    - The place of Special Educational Needs and disability (SEND), particularly the ‘behaviourist’ approach
    taken to behaviour management which is counterproductive with many children
    - The absence of any reference to the climate crisis and ecological emergency which represent the
    context within which our economy is developing.

  • The full executive summary and report can be downloaded below.

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