The benefits of investing in high quality teaching

The benefits of investing in high quality teaching

Frontier Economics’ recent study, on behalf of Ambition Institute, has shed light on the potential economic and social benefits of high quality teaching in the UK.

The primary objective of this research was to determine the potential benefits associated with an increase in teaching quality across the UK, and to provide a quantitative assessment of the magnitude of such benefits.

Our approach comprised of three main components including a review of existing literature, mapping of benefits and quantitative modelling. Some of our key findings include:

  • Earnings and Tax Revenue Growth: Over a 10-year period, improving the quality of teaching by one standard deviation could boost earnings for those in employment by up to £2.6bn each year, generating additional income tax receipts of over £870m annually. If we extend the timeframe to 20 years, the annual earnings boost for those in employment could nearly reach £10 billion, accompanied by an estimated increase in income tax revenue of £3.2 billion.
  • Increase in Pupils’ Lifetime Earnings: The present value of the cumulative expected increase in lifetime earnings over the entire lifetime of pupils going through the school system in the next decade could reach up to £90bn. The corresponding estimate accounting for all pupils going through the school system in the next two decades is almost £160bn.
  • GDP Growth: The research shows that improving teaching quality by one standard deviation can increase annual GDP by 0.7% to 0.8% once the entire workforce experiences these benefits.
  • Reducing Inequality: Investing more in teachers’ professional expertise would impact positively on inequality and social mobility, as our study shows that disadvantaged children are more likely to be taught by less experienced teachers
  • Non-Pecuniary Benefits: We also find that beyond labour market returns, reductions in inequalities in other non-pecuniary outcomes, such as crime rates and university attendance can also be expected.
  • Cost-Effective Approach: Investing in teaching proves more cost-effective than alternatives like expanding school choices or reducing class sizes. A policy that raises teaching quality by one standard deviation, equivalent to two extra months of learning progress, yields substantial taxpayer returns and is likely to pay by itself over a short time horizon.

In summary, our study highlights to policymakers the need to prioritise investment in high quality professional development for teachers. Investing in teaching quality not only benefits students but also drives significant economic growth and societal well-being, making it a strategic choice for the UK.

Read the full study by clicking here.

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The economic value of high teaching quality in the UK