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Evaluation of RETAIN: Early Career CPD for KS1 Teachers

Key Stage 1 Pupils

Project team

Dr Bronwen Maxwell, Lucy Clague, Eleanor Byrne, Dr Martin Culliney, Dr Mike Coldwell, Alison Glentworth (SIoE); Professor Andrew Hobson (University of Brighton)

Project date


Evaluation of pilot CPD programme for early career teachers (ECTs) with the aim of improving outcomes for disadvantaged pupils

Key findings of the evaluation


  • ECTs' knowledge and understanding of approaches to teaching disadvantaged students, self-efficacy, confidence and research use increased.
  • ECTs' classroom practices became more aligned with research evidence.
  • Most ECTs perceived that RETAIN was beneficial to their professional and career development and none left the profession during the pilot.
  • There was no control group so it was not possible to say whether the changes that occurred were due to the programme.
  • The critical components appeared to be the taught sessions, in-school coaching by an external coach and peer collaboration. These components, together with the integration of research evidence throughout, appeared to be mutually reinforcing.


  • RETAIN was positively received in most schools, some would have welcomed closer working with their school.
  • ECTs found it easier to apply the learning from RETAIN in schools which were open to changing existing school practices.

Wider learning

  • Good quality, structured CPD which aligns with the ‘indicative characteristics of effective CPD’ (summary table created for this project) is likely to be a good investment.


  • Theory-based mixed-methods evaluation testing intermediate outcomes that are associated with the intended long-term positive outcomes and exploring the plausibility of the underpinning causal theories and mediating factors.
  • Data were collected from interviews, surveys and observations.

Please visit the EEF's RETAIN web pages to learn more about the project.


Education Endowment Foundation


  • Pilot report and executive summary
  • Coldwell, M. and Maxwell, B. (under review) Using evidence-informed logic models to bridge methods in educational evaluation.
  • Overden-Hope, T., Blandford, S., Cain, T., Maxwell, B. (under review) ‘RETAIN’ Early Career Teacher Retention Programme: Evaluating the role of research informed continuing professional development for a sustainable 21st century teaching profession.
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