School trusts outspending councils on staff development

The Teacher Development Trust and School Dash have revealed that large multi-academy trusts are spending more per teacher than local authority-maintained schools on staff development.

Overall spending on staff development increased in 2018 compared to the previous year, though in nominal terms it barely moved above the level reached during the last peak in 2016, indicating a real-terms drop since then.

The research highlights that secondary schools spent an average of just over £520 per teacher in 2018, a substantial increase on previous years, though this still only accounts for 0.54 per cent of total spending. In fact, 65 per cent of secondary-school teachers, which equates to approximately 132,000 full-time equivalents, worked at schools that spent less than £500 per teacher in 2018.

For primary schools, Schools Dash found that an average of nearly £710 was spent on teacher development per educator, representing 0.66 per cent of spending. Overall, 41 per cent of all primary teachers (about 90,300 full-time equivalents) worked in schools that spent less than £500 per teacher in 2018.

However, the stand-out statistics show that school trusts – especially large multi-academy trusts (MATs) – spent more per teacher than local authority-maintained schools. Among primary schools, large MATs spent 37 per cent more than local authority-maintained schools; among secondary schools the difference was 74 per cent.

There is considerable regional variation. In general, London, the South East and the East of England showed the highest levels of staff development spend in 2018. The highest-spending region among primary schools (the South East) spent 21 per cent more per teacher than the lowest-spending region (the South West). Among secondary schools, London spent 26 per cent more per teacher than the East and West Midlands.

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