The true costs of teaching and #CPD training, by @TeacherToolkit

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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Do you lead whole-school teacher-training? Attend INSET days? Go on a course out of school? Then consider these CPD costs and effect-sizes (informal) on you and your school.

The article by Sam Ellis (ASCL‘s Funding specialist) published in Leader Magazine (December 2012), still resonates with me. So much so, I want to take his article, a little step further.

As highlighted in my post, The Universal Panacea for Christopher Waugh – otherwise known as @Edutronic_Net – in his series of #BlogSync topics, I made a case for teacher-CPD to be funded across the UK for a mere sum of £5.25p every Wednesday afternoon.


Costs per teacher for collaborative CPD:

DfE source: Assuming the ‘average teacher salary in the UK’ is £23,010 , lets work out a few sums.

  • £1,917.50 (gross) with £1,278 (net) as an income per month.
  • £1,278 divided by 30 days (with 8 days being a weekend), so £1,278 / 24 = £53.25 per day.
  • £53.25 assuming a teachers 1.0 contract. Therefore, a single Wednesday afternoon would be represented by 0.1 timescale.
  • 0.1 would be calculated as £5.25 per teacher to be released for CPD purposes every Wednesday afternoon.
  • 38 weeks per year, for one teacher, the costs for this CPD endeavour would be £199.50. MUCH cheaper than your average (external) training day!
  • Let’s assume there are 500,000 teachers across England and Wales. (There are 0.9M across the UK) The cost for one Wednesday afternoon would be a mere £2,625,000M per academic year. A small drop in the ocean for educational funding.
  • If we break this down for every school. The average secondary school has 100 teachers and the average primary school has 20 teachers.
  • 100 (Secondary) teachers X (times) one Wednesday afternoon = £525 per weekly CPD. For 38 weeks of the academic year, this would cost £52,500 per secondary school. About the equivalent of a very large and healthy, annual school CPD budget.
“…I dream of a day, where CPD is so inherently established, that is becomes part of every teachers’ bloodstream…”
“…I dream of a day, where CPD is so inherently established, that is becomes part of every teachers’ bloodstream…”

Now, Sam Ellis stated the following in his article:


“I no longer go to football matches, as I would rather spend the money on other things. The last time a friend persuaded me to go to a match was several years ago to watch Manchester United play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The ticket cost me £45. The match was rubbish and to make matters worse Manchester United lost. But, every cloud has a silver lining and at least I got an assembly idea out of the event along the ‘value for money’ theme.

I started with the idea: What would I get for £1? In the case of the football game, the basic sum worked out at two minutes of Paul Scholes and co. for £1.”


He goes on to equate the costs to other scenarios and links this with the costs of teaching…

CPD equivalents:

I have used his format to develop the concept further and base this idea on CPD costs. You can click on the image to enlarge it.

This is just a model / something to consider
Click to enlarge: This is just a model / something to consider – by @TeacherToolkit

Result summary:

You may work out from the statistics above; that anything organised in school; or led by a current classroom teacher, has more value-for-money and has been graded (in my humble opinion) to have more impact on teachers. This is indicated as ‘Medium’ or ‘High’.

However, this is not a concrete model and there are many, many examples I can use, where I have attended an external event; or bought-in a consultant who has made an impact on my own practice. What I mean by this, is that what I took part in, I still use today. This can be ideas; resources; a philosophy or a strategy. This is equally the case for internal CPD in school which leads to little or no (zero) impact on teacher-practice. The classic meeting-style training event. Chalk and talk; all sit, facing the front and so on…

Finally, another problem is this: measuring the impact and practice across your teaching community is far harder to measure that a simple evaluation on Survey Monkey or Blue Sky Education! How do you measure impact on teacher-practice? A department? The students? the school?

CPD per hour; per minute; per teacher; per £1:

Have you considered how much it costs to have an internal or external INSET? The data above will serve an interesting and thoughtful range of statistics, even if it is a broad estimate.

Let’s assume your Headteacher allocates £30,000 to you for one academic year.
Let’s assume your Headteacher allocates £30,000 to you for one academic year.

Let’s assume your Headteacher allocates £30,000 to you for one academic year. This would be a very healthy CPD budget for 100 teaching staff; but this also includes 50 support staff. A larger budget could be in excess of £50,000… and for a large primary school; more in the region of £15,000. However, this will vary across the country, according to priorities; as well as school funding available.

Questions for the reader:

  1. If you were in-charge of a school CPD budget, how would you spend it?
  2. What would you do? How would you map out the academic year?
  3. How much would you keep aside for contingency?
  4. How could you ensure value for money?
  5. How would you keep within budget and make sure school; departmental; and teacher priorities are met?
  6. How would you negotiate costs?
  7. What would you allocate per member of staff? What would be the limit?
These are my non-negotiables!
These are my non-negotiables!

Some non-negotiables:

These are variable conditions, but factors you must take into account.

  • Each time a member of staff requests an external INSET. This will also cost you £200 to buy in a supply teacher. The costs for support staff would be £0 as there are no lessons to cover. So, factor in the costs advertised, plus cover costs.
  • If organising a whole-staff INSET, your canteen will have its catering suppliers to pay. You also need to pay for staff breakfast; break and lunch. How will you provide a healthy and reasonable meal; using school-canteen services; ingredients and facilities? Let’s assume a 1-hour CPD session (tea; coffee and biscuits) is £2.50 per head. For a full days refreshments; £7.50 per head.
  • If a staff member does not turn up to an INSET, you will need to pay the cancellation fee. This can typically be 90% of the full costs with less than 48 hours notice. (It does happen!)
  • You have 5 INSET days per academic year. To feed 150 staff in a large secondary school, will cost £7.50 each per INSET (£1,125), per staff member. So, as your headteacher, I have already deducted £5,625 for the year… unless you can find cheaper catering; or speak with your Finance Officer and arrange for the money to be taken out of the school’s Hospitality budget.
 CPD impact vs. Cost
Click to enlarge: CPD impact vs. Costs (by @TeacherToolkit)

Email me your solutions:

I will post the best answers below.

Cost-cutting CPD solutions:

  1. CPD solution to share is by @Barcz: I have worked in a school, where period 1, every Friday was devoted to CPD (we ran a rotating timetable that day so the different lessons lost a week). Observation trios were set up, so that as well as having whole-staff sessions, we were also working in smaller groups led by those who had done external courses and were feeding back. Absolutely brilliant.
  2. To be published here by @???.
  3. etc.

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5 thoughts on “The true costs of teaching and #CPD training, by @TeacherToolkit

  1. Well, I agree with your thesis, but your sums are hopelessly wrong.

    Even if average salary was £23,010 (it’s far higher), you’ve thought of it all from the point of view of the employee. As an employer, I have to pay oncosts such as employers’ NI contribution etc which take it up to around £28,763 per annum. Releasing a teacher for an afternoon each week would cost me a tenth of this – that’s £2,876 per annum, or about £74 each week. Releasing a hundred teachers across the whole year for an afternoon a week would cost £287,600. That’s not a drop in the ocean. And then, I’ll have to answer regulatory complaints that I’m not providing the “recommended 25 hours of instruction” per week.

    Still, it would be fine to run it on an irregular basis. Let’s hope the parents don’t get too teed off with picking up childcare costs.

      1. Even if the sums aren’t that favourable, I do have this feeling that internal CPD is the way to go. I know there are a lot of schools doing something similar to your suggestion even if it is not a full afternoon and not every week. I’m still eager to see the proposals you publish from contributors.

        Taking another tack, 5 training days could be turned into ten training afternoons spread throughout the year, at a nominal cost of zero.

  2. My CPD solution to share is:: I sometimes run external inset – recently received an email from a college assistant principal where I ran 3 half day insets – with follow up work for staff between session. They increased their Ofsted grade when inspected and the impact of the external cpd they had received was mentioned in the report as being key in improving the quality of T&L.

    I think they felt it was very good impact. Sometimes you do need an external eye to highlight to staff different ways of doing things….
    Twitter handle?: @realcbd

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