The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has announced a significant new strategy designed to attract and retain more teachers. The measures set out at the end of January aim to reduce teachers’ workloads, increase recruitment and support teachers, particularly those new to the profession.
The launch of the new strategy follows the survey results published at the end of last year from the National Association of Head Teachers, which highlighted the difficulties with retention and recruitment in the teaching profession. The data shows that 77 per cent of school leaders struggled with recruitment last year and that the targets for teacher recruitment have not been met for the past six years.
The Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy is the first-ever integrated strategy implemented by the government. It was developed with educational unions, professional bodies and existing teachers to attract, retain and develop a new generation of inspirational educators. The plans start with the application process and the introduction of a new one-stop shop system to make it easier for budding teachers to experience classroom teaching and apply to become a teacher.
An important element of the strategy is the creation of the Early Career Framework, which will involve extra funding of £130m a year when the rollout has been completed. All new teachers will have extra support and training for the first two years of their career and a reduced timetable during this time.
The current bursary structure will be reformed and include retention-based payments. Those who remain in the teaching profession will receive further payments during the early years of their career. There will also be increased options for progressing careers in education, with a new service to match teachers wanting to job-share, the development of specialist qualifications and routes for teachers keen to remain in the classroom, and incentives for working in challenging schools.
There will be help for school leaders to alleviate the workload of teachers. This will include removing unnecessary tasks, including data entry; the simplification of the system to confirm when a school could be undergoing intervention or offered additional support; and work with Ofsted so that its inspections will consider the workload of the staff.
The new plans have been welcomed by leaders of teaching unions and professional bodies, with the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton, highlighting the importance of bringing enjoyment back into the profession. Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, believes the Early Career Framework could potentially transform teaching in this country.
The Department for Education will continue to discuss plans with existing teachers and school leaders to identify how they can work together to deliver the ambitious aims of this strategy.
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