• New survey of school leaders reveals 97% believe access to good CPD is the key to encouraging people to stay in the profession
  • 44% of leaders plan to up their CPD provision in the coming year
  • The Key launches new digital CPD platform to accelerate the sharing of peer-to-peer best practice


 Tuesday 15 June 2021, 08:00AM: New findings released today from The Key reveal that 88% of school leaders surveyed believe CPD is either “extremely important” (50%) or “important” (38%) to the post-pandemic recovery of their school. Indeed, nearly half (44%) shared that they plan to increase their CPD provision in the coming year – with only 4% expecting to do less.

Noting the importance of CPD to the education sector, 97%*[1] shared a view that having access to good CPD is an important factor for encouraging staff to stay in the profession. The forms of CPD most-valued by leaders included “peer-to-peer support from staff at other schools” (33%) and “inviting external speakers into school” (24%).

The findings, gathered from over 960 school leaders, have been released to coincide with the launch of a new digital CPD platform from The Key, designed to accelerate the sharing of peer-to-peer best practice as leaders move forward from  recovery to a position of strength. Available from today, IdeaStream from The Key, puts the most knowledgeable school leaders and their best practice at the fingertips of school staff, through streamed live events and on-demand talks.

“We recognise that CPD is going to play a big role in supporting leaders as they emerge determinedly from the pandemic and guide their schools back to strength,’ said Nicola West Jones, Head of Market Research at The Key. “But we also recognise that the pandemic has completely changed expectations of how CPD can be delivered. We’ve seen first-hand how powerful the sharing of just one great idea can be for solving problems in hundreds of other schools. Having on-demand access to a virtual roster of school leaders and sector experts means leaders can now lean on their peers for support, whenever they need to, in order to drive positive change in their schools.”

Just 9% of school leaders in the survey indicated a preference for returning to in-person CPD provision (such as conferences) post-pandemic. Two-thirds (67%) are keen to use a combination of both online and in-person – and nearly a quarter (23%) want to keep their CPD online only in the future.

Reflecting on the last year, nearly half of leaders (44%) shared that their staff had done less like-for-like CPD than usual in the last 12 months, as schools focused on supporting their pupils and communities through the pandemic. Furthermore, respondents noted a number of challenges in relation to pre-pandemic CPD, including the cost of CPD (58%), finding the right CPD for individual needs (43%) and the quality of CPD provision available (34%).




Notes to editors:

For more information contact:

Georgina Brown

georgina.brown@thekeysupport.com / 0208 106 5437


About the research

 The research quoted in this release was gathered via a survey, which was sent to 87,000 school leader contacts in The Key’s database and completed by 961 respondents, between 24 May and 7 June 2021. We have not weighted the survey responses and so the data should not be taken to be statistically representative. The survey was sent to both members and non-members of The Key.

Respondents identified as being part of a school senior leadership team (SLT) – with roles breaking down as follows: executive headteacher 4%, headteacher 47%, deputy headteacher 26%, assistant headteacher 21%, SLT – other 1%.


About IdeaStream from The Key


Launching on 15 June 2021, IdeaStream from The Key puts the most knowledgeable school leaders and sector experts, and their best practice, right at the fingertips of school staff. The platform offers on-demand CPD talks and streamed live events to help leaders drive positive change in their schools.

The launch of IdeaStream will be supported by a virtual live event, during which a panel of practising school leaders will discuss the importance of CPD in a post-pandemic era. There will also be an opportunity to get an exclusive first look at IdeaStream in action. Register now at key.sc/cpd


About The Key

 The Key is the leading provider of knowledge and tools for education leaders determined to make a difference.

We provide the latest policy information and practical how-tos, as well as data insights powered by modern management information systems, to give leaders in education the context to lead and the knowledge to act. We support more than 16,000 schools across the country to drive school improvement and make a meaningful impact.

Our community of ambitious and aspiring members has grown to more than 160,000 leaders of schools and multi-academy trusts. We are deeply committed to serving the needs and championing the perspectives of education leaders across the country. Our vision is to be an indispensable partner to education leaders determined to make a difference.

Head to thekeysupport.com to learn more, or follow us @thekeysl


[1] In answer to the question: “How important a factor is having access to good CPD in encouraging people to stay in the profession?” –  97% is the total of responses including: “extremely important” – 58%, “important” – 30%, “somewhat important” – 9%