DfE unveils new teacher recruitment and retention strategy
Education secretary Damian Hinds has unveiled a new teacher recruitment and retention strategy, designed to increase teacher numbers in the UK.
Alongside more early career support and opportunities for flexible and part-time working, the strategy also seeks to reduce teacher workload.
Overall, the move is designed to ensure that the best teaching staff remain in the profession, and it is backed by several leading professional bodies, education unions and hundreds of teachers.
Mr Hinds promised to champion the profession when taking on the role and the new strategy includes several key aims to boost outcomes for pupils, including:
- Developing the Early Career Framework – backed with £130 million in funding annually – including a two-year package of training and support. This will include a reduced timetable to ensure that all training can be properly implemented, and additional funding through the £42 million Teacher Development Premium.
- Additional financial incentives to encourage teaching staff to continue careers in the classroom, alongside a reformed bursary process that includes retention-based payments that are staggered across the first few years of a teaching career.
- Introducing a one-step teacher application system to simplify the process of becoming a teacher, whilst also increasing accessibility to potential classroom experience.
- Supporting school leaders to cut teacher workloads by removing unnecessary tasks, simplifying the accountability system and working with Ofsted to ensure workload is part of inspections.
- Providing a flexible range of career options including non-leadership career routes and incentives for staff to work in challenging schools.
The education secretary said he is keen for teachers to be able to “inspire young people, support their development and set them up for a bright future” rather than having to complete unnecessary paperwork.
“This ambitious strategy commits to supporting teachers – particularly those at the start of their career – to focus on what actually matters, the pupils in their classrooms,” Mr Hinds explained.
He added that there is a need to “ensure that teaching is an attractive profession” and that the new strategy should enable school staff to focus on teaching above anything else.
In addition to the aims mentioned above, the Department for Education also wants to launch a Discover Teaching initiative, designed to help more find out about life in the classroom.
There is also a push to encourage school leaders to embrace flexible working processes and plans to invest £10 million into creating regional centres of excellence that can share best practice.
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, welcomed the plans, described teachers as the “lifeblood of schools” and said more must be done to “put the joy back into teaching”.
His views were echoed by Paul Whiteman, the General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers and by Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman.
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