Last Updated: Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Role of Continuous Professional Development in Closing the Gap in Educational Attainment (2015)

What is this?

This research considers how to improve the system of continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers and teaching assistants in schools across Wales to assist them in their efforts to break the link between educational attainment and poverty. The evidence suggests that closing the attainment gap requires a combination of high quality CPD; initiatives to raise attainment of pupils from low - income families; parental and community engagement in planning change; the recruitment, development and retention of high quality teachers; systemic approaches and effective leadership.

Who is this for?

Teachers, practitioners and others who are involved in planning or supporting learning for children and young people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

About this research

How was the research carried out?

This report involved a systematic review which aims to identify a comprehensive set of research evidence to answer one or more research questions. The research involved: an initial trawl to identify relevant research literature; screening of this literature and selection of studies which met predefined criteria; and analysis and synthesis of the research literature. The review focused on international evidence.

What are the strengths of the research methodology?

Systematic reviews provide a comprehensive picture of the research literature in a particular area, usually based on the results of many studies in different settings. They bring together a wide range of research literature in one report, ideally offering an overview of key findings and/or evidence gaps.

What is the context for this research?

The Minister for Education and Skills requested expert advice on how to improve the system of CPD for teachers and teaching assistants in schools across Wales to assist them in their efforts to break the link between educational attainment and poverty. Due to differences in policy and educational contexts, both in Wales and the other countries included in the review, it is important to be aware that the findings may need to be contextualised for application in Scotland.

Reflective questions

The following questions may provide a stimulus for discussion:

  • What initiatives to raise attainment of pupils from low - income families are you aware of?
  • How could your setting improve outcomes for learners from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds through quality career-long professional learning?

About the author(s)

This research report was commissioned by the Public Policy Institute for Wales and written by Christopher Day (University of Nottingham).

Related research/reading

Coghlan, M., Bergeron, C., White, K., Sharp, C., Morris, M. and Wilson, R. (2010). Narrowing the Gap in Outcomes for Young Children Through Effective Practices in the Early Years. London: Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People's Services.

Ellis, S. and Sosu, E. (2014) Closing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Education. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Disclaimer

This research was not commissioned by Education Scotland and the findings, recommendations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the views of Education Scotland.

Full reference

Day, C. (2015). The Role of Continuous Professional Development in Closing the Gap in Educational Attainment. Cardiff: Public Policy Institute for Wales.

Link(s) to full research article

The Role of Continuous Professional Development in Closing the Gap in Educational Attainment