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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Torgerson, C., Nielsen, C., Gascoine, L., Filges, T., Moore, I., Nielsen, B. & Jørgensen, F. (2017). A systematic review of the effective continuing professional development training of welfare professionals. København, VIVE The Danish Centre for Social Science Research.

Author(s) from Durham


The quality of the professional development of education and welfare professionals working with children and young people (for example, pre-school teachers or ‘pedagogues’, school teachers, teaching assistants, social workers, psychologists, police officers etc.) is of key importance to policy makers and practitioners in these fields. The general wellbeing of a country’s citizens and the provision of better opportunities in terms of educational and social welfare outcomes (for example, participation in higher education and reduction of anti-social behaviour) have been linked to the quality of teaching and, by implication, the quality of continuing professional development (CPD). Conversely, a potential barrier to achieving these education and welfare aspirations is the variable quality of the professional training delivered to the educational and/or welfare practitioners, which could mean that the education and training of these groups of professionals may, sometimes, be less than optimal. In order to inform education and welfare professions – policy makers and practitioners - about the nature and effectiveness of a diversity of approaches to continuing professional develop-ment, a systematic review of the international literature will be undertaken. Professional development of these groups of professionals could include delivery strategies such as: focused supervision; feedback; team work or other kinds of training/ CPD approaches that are specifically focused on core teaching skills such as language and literacy professional development. The review will systematically search for, locate, quality appraise and synthesise all the availa-ble effectiveness studies which evaluate relevant interventions using rigorous designs. By ‘rigorous designs’ we refer to those research designs that can establish a causal link between continuing professional development and outcomes for professionals themselves, children and young people. Therefore, we will include: systematic review (SR) and meta-analytic designs, ‘true’ experiments (randomised controlled trials or RCTs), quasi-experiments (with baseline equivalence as demonstrated by pre-tests in the outcomes of interest but excluding studies using an instrumental variable approach), including studies using regression discontinuity design. We will search substantively for studies in the fields of education, social welfare and crime and justice.

School of Education