The present study investigated the effects of a continuing professional development (CPD) initiative that provided collaborative group work skills training for primary school teachers. The study collected data from 24 primary school classrooms in different schools in a variety of urban and rural settings. The sample was composed of 332 pupils, aged 9-12 years old, and 24 primary school teachers. Results indicated that the CPD initiative had a significant impact on the attainment of pupils in science. In addition, data indicated that the CPD promoted effective discourse and pupil dialogue during science lessons. Pre-test and post-test observation scores were significantly different in terms of children giving of suggestions or courses of actions, offering of explanations, and telling someone to say something or carry out an action. Increases in effective dialogue were significantly correlated to increased science attainment, and teacher evaluations of the impact of the CPD were positive. Significant correlations were found between teacher evaluation of impact upon pupil learning and increased attainment in science. The design and structure of CPD initiatives and the implications for practice, policy and future research are explored.