This report, commissioned by Wellcome Trust, demonstrates that continuing professional development (CPD) can greatly increase retention of science teachers.

With a chronic shortage of science teachers in the UK already affecting the school system, research has shown that science teachers, particularly newly trained, are much more likely to leave the profession than non-science peers. The report recognises the need, and support, for all teachers to receive CPD throughout their careers. The paper also postulates that funders and policy makers interested in improving STEM education should know that investment in high-quality CPD not only improves teaching in the classroom, it also keeps more experienced teachers in the profession.


  • One in 12 teachers who did not participate in STEM Learning CPD left teaching within two years.
  • This drops to 1 in 30 for those who participated in CPD, when other factors (such as age and gender) are taken into account, CPD increases the odds of remaining by 160%.
  • Currently, the odds of science teachers leaving their school within five years are 26% higher than for otherwise similar non-science teachers.
  • The odds of newly qualified science teachers (beginning work in 2010) leaving their first school within five years are 35% higher than otherwise similar newly qualified non-science teachers.

To read more from Wellcome, visit their website.