Embedding CPD

A detailed report on embedding CPD

This is the Final Report of a study to evaluate the take up and impact of investment by the Department for Education (DfE) in a number of initiatives, addressing both initial teacher training and the continuing professional development of teachers, designed to improve teacher workforce skills in relation to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The evaluation was conducted over the period January 2009 to March 2011.

Main findings


  • Taken together, these initiatives represent a possibly unique comprehensive approach to improving the knowledge, attitudes, skills, behaviour, and confidence of the teacher workforce in relation to special educational needs and disability.
  • The materials to support trainee teachers and those in practice have been welcomed and found to be effective.
  • The dissemination methods have been effective and have produced a substantial platform for further dissemination.
  • Taken as a whole, our evidence provides support for the proposed initiatives to develop teacher training and continuing professional development set out in the recent Green Paper.

The two main developments examined in our evaluation were the SEND Training Toolkit developed by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) for students in initial teacher training and the Inclusion Development Programme (IDP) developed by the National Strategies for teachers in practice. Each comprised the development of materials and had a planned national dissemination strategy with phased implementation. The TDA Toolkit was made available to providers of primary undergraduate courses in initial teacher training (ITT) in higher education institutions (HEIs) in Phase 1 (2008-09), followed by materials in 2009-10 for providers of secondary undergraduate courses and for providers of the PGCE primary/secondary in 2010-11. Phase 1 of the IDP (2008-09) comprised two sets of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) materials focusing on speech, language and communication needs and on dyslexia respectively. Materials for supporting pupils on the autism spectrum (2009-10) and with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (2010-11) then followed and were disseminated in Phases 2 and 3.

There were further initiatives within the programme designed ultimately to improve the achievement and well-being of pupils with SEND, including the Stammering Information Programme, extended placements for trainee teachers in special schools or specialist provision in mainstream schools, and the funding of experienced teachers to undertake a mandatory qualification for specialist teachers of pupils with sensory impairment. In addition, the government introduced regulations to require SENCOs to be qualified teachers and to undertake mandatory training. The TDA developed a national framework for this training, approved training providers to offer it and funded SENCOs new to the role to undertake the training from 2009; evaluation of these initiatives has been arranged separately by the TDA.

Together these initiatives add up to an innovative and challenging programme of work which represents a comprehensive attempt to enhance the knowledge, skills, and confidence of the teacher workforce nationally, through both initial teacher training and CPD. The strategy of developing the IDP as both a SEND and school improvement issue had the potential to avoid its marginalization as ‘only’ about pupils with SEND, to bring school leaders into the initiative and also to embed SEND as central to whole school development.

The end of our evaluation coincides with the publication of the Green Paper1. We therefore report our findings and make recommendations relative to this indication of future government policy.

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