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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Continuing professional development for teachers working in early childhood and school education


9.Teachers and education staff

9.3Continuing professional development for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Last update: 21 February 2023

Continuing professional development is both a right and a duty of all teachers, as well as the responsibility of the education authorities and the educational institutions themselves.

These activities consist of regular actions for the updating of their scientific, educational and professional expertise. Participation is voluntary.

Organisational aspects

Ministry of Education and Vocational Training

According to Article 102 of Organic Law 2/2006 on Education (LOE), which amends Organic Law 3/2020 (LOMLOE), the guidelines to which the continuing learning programmes offered by the regional education authorities must adhere include:

  • adaptation of knowledge and methods to the evolution of science and specific teaching methodologies;
  • coordination, guidance, tutoring, inclusive education, attention to diversity and organisation;
  • specific training in the area of gender equality;
  • specific training in the area of bullying and ill-treatment in schools;
  • specific training in the prevention, detection and response to violence against children;
  • use of information and communication technologies;
  • training in digitalisation;
  • foreign language training for all teachers, regardless of their specialisation;
  • research and innovation programmes, promoting collaborative work and professional and institutional networks for the promotion of training, self-assessment and improvement of the teaching activity.

The National Institute of Educational Technologies and Teacher Training  (INTEF) is the unit within the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training responsible for the integration of ICT and Teacher Training in non-university educational stages. Some of its functions are:

  • development, promotion and dissemination of curriculum materials;
  • drafting of models for the training of teaching staff;
  • design and implementation of specific programmes aimed at the scientific and didactic updating for teachers;
  • development and dissemination of digital and audiovisual materials;
  • implementation, in collaboration with the Autonomous Communities, of specific teacher training programmes for the development of digital competence.

Education authorities of the Autonomous Communities

The Autonomous Communities are free to:

  • establish their own priority guidelines for continuing training, taking into account the training needs of the teaching staff within their jurisdiction;
  • establish the content of the training;
  • decide on the institutions in charge of its provision.

Network of institutions providing training activities

  • Teachers and Resource Centres

Article 7 of Royal Decree 1693/1995 and regional regulations establish the action plan for teachers and resource centres. Their tasks and powers are related to:

  • organisation and development of the training plan within their area of action;
  • promotion of inter institutional working teams supporting the dissemination of knowledge;
  • provision of resources to the teaching staff to contribute to the development of their teaching activity;
  • improvement of educational innovation.
  • Other institutions involved in the continuing professional development of teachers:

Article 3 of Order EDU/2886/2011, which regulates the announcement, recognition, certification and registration of continuing training activities for teachers, includes other institutions linked to continuing teacher training: 

These institutions are responsible for a variable number of primary and secondary educational establishments to which they provide support in relation to professional development and resources or guidance to carry out innovation or improvement initiatives.


According to article 5 of Order EDU/2886/2011, which regulates the announcement, recognition, certification and registration of continuing training activities for teachers, teacher training activities are classified into five basic modalities:

  • courses;
  • seminars;
  • working groups;
  • training projects in institutions;
  • conferences.

They are classified according to whether they are attendance-based or not:

  • Face-to-face: face-to-face courses and seminars may include non-face-to-face periods, provided that the total duration of the activity is at least twenty hours, and the non-face-to-face hours do not exceed 20% of the total. These periods must be evidenced by the submission of an individual or group report or project. As a general rule, face-to-face sessions shall not exceed eight hours per day.
  • On line: these activities may include a face-to-face session for their coordination.
  • Blended: they combine face-to-face and online phases. In general, the face-to-face phase may not be of less than ten hours.

Teachers can take part in these activities out of their teaching hours, during the compulsory time of permanence at school or during working hours if they are carried out outside the educational institution.

Admission requirements

To take part in some of these activities, teachers may have to comply with several admission requirements usually related to their university qualifications or teaching experience in certain educational levels.

Incentives, supporting measures and funding for participation in continuing professional development (CPD) activities.

The Resolution of 16 February 2011, by the Directorate General for Evaluation and Territorial Cooperation establishes the recognition, within the area of competence of the different education authorities, of additional allowances for teachers linked to the completion of training activities.

Undertaking continuing teacher training is optional but has specific effects on teachers’ professional careers:

  • merits in public competitive examinations;
  • receiving an additional payment.

Agreements between the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training and the education authorities of the Autonomous Communities (2011)

  • Recognition of teachers training activities

The education authorities recognise the training activities, research and innovation carried out by the teaching staff out of the jurisdiction of the target education authority, providing that they have been previously accredited by the education authority in charge of offering such training.

The recognition of such activities is considered a merit in any call including the assessment of continuing professional development activities.

  • Recognition of additional payments related to the implementation of training activities
  1. specific additional remuneration for continuing professional development (bonus for every 5-year and 6-year periods in service): recognition of the training activities carried out by teachers out of the jurisdiction of the target education authority, as long as they have been previously recognised by the education authority where they were implemented;
  2. certification and recognition by the relevant education authority of the number of bonuses for every 6-year period in service;
  3. certification and recognition by the target education authority of the training activities carried out during the current six-year term in service, to those teachers moving for work to such education authority.

The recognition of these training activities is carried out according to the regulations and criteria on continuing professional development activities of the education authority to which teachers belong. It has effect on all the calls, competitions or administrative actions considered to assess them.

Education authorities of the Autonomous Communities

  • study leaves:
    • they are managed and awarded by the Autonomous Communities;
    • they are paid for teachers working in public educational institutions within their area of management;
    • the aim is to promote the carrying out of training and educational research and innovation activities.
  • continuing training through different institutions:
    • public institutions: it is free of charge;
    • other institutions: there is financial aid for participants to help defray costs. The announcement, management and granting of this aid is the responsibility of regional education authorities, so there is a significant variety.