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Local learning landscapes: exploring coherence, equity and quality in teacher professional development in England

Greany, Toby; Noyes, Andy; Gripton, Cath; Cowhitt, Tom; Hudson, Georgina

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Professor of Education

Tom Cowhitt

Georgina Hudson


Georgina Hudson
Project Member


Ensuring that all teachers engage in high-quality Continuing Professional Development and Learning (CPDL) has long been a policy priority in school systems worldwide, given evidence that this can lead to improvements in teaching quality and, thereby, children’s outcomes. In high-performing school systems globally, arrangements for CPDL are coherent and well-coordinated. However, England’s school system is experiencing fragmentation and partial reformation - evolving from place-based oversight by 152 Local Authorities (LAs), to non-place-based oversight of around 1200 Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs), although large numbers of schools remain outside this framework. In terms of CPDL, the shift has been from a patchwork of school-led provision, including by around 750 Teaching Schools, to a nationally defined offer (i.e. the Early Career Framework and National Professional Qualifications) provided by 87 Teaching School Hubs (TSHs) and augmented by a range of other curriculum hubs and commercial providers. In this context, this research asks: “To what extent, and how, do local learning landscapes in England operate to provide high quality, inclusive professional learning for primary schools?” The research focused on formal and informal professional learning in mathematics, using this as a lens onto wider CPDL practices. Three localities were selected for study, each within an LA area encompassing around 100 primary schools. In each locality, a representative sample of local system leaders and school-based staff (heads, maths leads and class teachers) were interviewed. A conceptual framework identifying six theoretically salient features of local learning landscapes is presented and used to structure the findings. Finally, implications for policy and practice are identified.

Report Type Research Report
Acceptance Date Mar 22, 2023
Online Publication Date Mar 23, 2023
Publication Date Mar 23, 2023
Deposit Date May 17, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 23, 2023
Keywords locality; place; networks; teacher professional development
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