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The Case for Subject-Specific CPD

A paper promoting bespoke continuing professional development.


In January 2020, the Institute of Physics hosted a summit to discuss a long-term approach to subject-specific continuing professional development (CPD). As part of that conference, Professor Robert Coe wrote and presented a paper making the case for subject-specific CPD.

In the paper, Professor Coe highlights some of the challenges for teachers trying to access high-quality CPD, especially in their subjects. He makes the case for funding a structured approach to subject-specific CPD with three key points:

  • the effectiveness of individual teachers makes a large difference to students’ learning outcomes;
  • teacher effectiveness can be increased substantially by in-service training and support; and
  • although CPD may sometimes be seen as an expensive, non-core element of running schools, compared to other things we could do to raise attainment it is extremely cost-effective.

The discussions at the summit resulted in the publication of the Subjects Matter report (2020).

Professor Coe currently works for Evidence Based Education and the Education Endowment Foundation. He was previously Professor of Education and Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University and has strong research interest in teachers’ professional learning.

The paper

The Case for Subject-Specific CPD

By Professor Robert Coe.

Download the full paper (PDF, 339KB)