Teaching quality and economic performance

The economic value of high quality teaching in the UK by Frontier Economics

About this research
This report examines the potential economic value of an increase in teaching quality across the UK. The primary objective of this research is to determine the theoretical benefits that could arise from higher teaching quality, and to provide a quantitative assessment of the potential scale of those benefits.

It takes time for high quality teaching to stimulate economic growth for the simple reason that the children who directly benefit are not yet active participants in the labour market.  

However, the research finds that, if policymakers were to support teachers to develop their professional expertise and skills by a meaningful but achievable amount:

  • Within a decade, one in ten workers would have benefitted from this improvement in the quality of teaching, and the total annual earnings of those in employment would increase by £2.6 billion.
  • Within two decades, as the share of the workforce who experienced higher quality teaching grows to one in three individuals, this figure would rise to £9.7 billion.
  • The long-term impact would be an uplift of almost £160 billion in cumulative lifetime earnings.
  • Investing more in teacher’s professional expertise would have a positive impact on inequality and social mobility.
  • Action taken to increase the quality of teaching by one standard deviation would yield additional tax revenue of £870 million annually, over three times what the UK government has committed to spend on teacher professional development each year.  Within 20 years, a large enough share of the workforce would have directly benefited from high quality teaching to generate thirteen times what the government has currently pledged to spend in this respect annually.

Read the findings in full.

Cite this paper
Frontier Economics (2023). The economic value of higher quality teaching in the UK. Available at: The_economic_value_of_higher_teaching_quality_in_the_uk.pdf