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European Education Area

Quality education and training for all

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The teaching professions

The importance of professional development for teachers and school leaders 

The knowledge, skills and attitudes of the EU’s teachers and school leaders are of great importance. Their quality and professionalism have a direct effect on the learning outcomes of school pupils.

The demands made of teachers, school leaders and teacher educators are high. They play a critical role in achieving high-quality education for all learners and, therefore, need to continuously develop their competences. Initial education and continuous professional development need to be of the highest quality, and access to professional support throughout their careers is essential. 

A decline in the prestige of the teaching profession and staff shortages may be hampering the quality of school education in many EU Member States. Most Member States seek to motivate and assist their staff to excel in these demanding professions and, at the same time, attempt to attract a wider range of suitable candidates to careers in school education.

How the EU supports the development of policies for the teaching professions

An EU working group of  representatives from Ministries of Education and stakeholder organisations across the EU meets regularly to examine specific policies relevant to teachers and school leaders, to discuss shared challenges and exchange best practices. 

The EU working groups have produced guidance for policymakers on a range of topics linked to the teaching professions. These publications combine broad, universal principles for policy development with a wide range of concrete examples from across Europe.