New national strategy unveiled to boost teacher numbers

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Teachers in England will receive more early career support, opportunities for flexible and part-time working, and a reduction in their workload – in a new strategy aimed at boosting the number of teachers in the profession and making sure talent stays in schools across the country.

Launching the government’s first-ever integrated strategy to recruit and retain more teachers in schools – developed alongside and welcomed today (28 January) by teachers, education unions and leading professional bodies – Education Secretary Damian Hinds has set out plans to attract and retain the next generation of inspirational teachers.

The strategy will deliver on the Education Secretary’s commitment to champion the profession and will build on the 30,000 classroom teachers the government aims to recruit each year, support the 450,000 teachers already working in schools in England, and boost outcomes for pupils by:

  • Providing new teachers with the foundations for a successful career – by creating the Early Career Framework, the biggest teaching reform in a generation, backed by at least £130million a year in extra funding when fully rolled out. New teachers will receive a two-year package of training and support at the start of their career, including a reduced timetable to allow teachers to make the most of their training. Extra investment will also be pledged, through the £42million Teacher Development Premium, to roll-out the Early Career Framework
  • Extra financial incentives to encourage talented teachers to stay in the classroom - Bursaries will be reformed to include retention-based payments for those who stay in the profession by staggering additional payments throughout the first years of their career.
  • Simplifying the process of applying to become a teacher – introducing a new one-stop application system to make applications easier for would-be teachers and making it easier for more people to experience classroom teaching.
  • Helping school leaders to reduce teachers’ workload – helping school leaders strip away unnecessary tasks such as data entry; simplifying the accountability system to clarify when a school may be subject to intervention or offered support; and working with Ofsted to ensure staff workload is considered as part of a school’s inspection judgement.
  • Creating a more diverse range of options for career progression – helping schools to introduce flexible working practices through a new match-making service for teachers seeking a job-share and developing specialist qualifications and non-leadership career routes for teachers that want to stay in the classroom, with additional incentives to work in challenging schools.

The Education Secretary is calling on the profession to work with the Department for Education to deliver the plan and help meet the “shared challenge” of recruitment and retention.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

When I took this job a year ago, I made championing teachers my number one priority. Over the past year I have worked with Ofsted and the unions to bear down on workload. I think teachers work too many hours - aggravated by unnecessary tasks like excessive marking and data entry, spending more than half their time on non-teaching tasks.

But those who choose to become teachers chose to do so to inspire young people, support their development and set them up for a bright future – not stay late in the office filling in a spreadsheet.

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. In a competitive graduate labour market we must continue to ensure that teaching is an attractive profession so we can train and retain the next generation of inspirational teachers. Working with teachers, school leaders, trusts and unions, this strategy will help to support teachers to do what they do best – teach.

The priorities in the strategy have been defined with leading education unions, who have co-signed a commitment to help teachers and school leaders implement the strategy so that it has maximum impact in schools. To deliver on these priorities, and build on the 34,500 trainees that joined the profession in 2018, the strategy also commits to:

  • support proposals in Ofsted’s new inspection framework, including to focus on reducing teacher workload;
  • introduce a new Ofsted hotline for head teachers to directly report any breaches of its commitments around the information schools do not need to provide to inspectors, including internal assessment data;
  • launch a new ‘Discover Teaching’ initiative to give more people an opportunity to discover the joys of teaching;
  • Challenge Education Technology (EdTech) providers to see how innovative timetabling solutions can help support part-time and flexible working patterns;
  • Call on head teachers and school leaders to embrace flexible working in their schools;
  • launch a new, digital ‘match-making’ service for teachers looking for a job-share partner – helping more people join or return to the profession; and
  • invest £10 million to create regional centres of excellence to facilitate sharing of best practice on classroom and behaviour management.

The leaders of teaching unions and professional bodies have today welcomed the plans.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

Teachers are the lifeblood of our schools but far too many currently leave the profession too early in their careers, and we simply must do more to put the joy back into teaching.

The Early Career Framework has the potential to be a game-changer. By providing teachers with support and development during the first few years of their career and helping them to flourish in the classroom, it can help to raise the status of teaching to where it deserves to be: as a life-enhancing vocation.

Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said:

Teaching is a hugely rewarding career, but the first few years can often be challenging. The Early Career Framework has the potential to transform the reality of teaching in England. Delivered well, this programme of mentoring and support will help new teachers to build their confidence and hone their skills, providing the foundations for a successful career in teaching, and creating the school leaders of the future.

This Strategy will also see positive changes to the accountability system, removing the floor and coasting standards and making requires improvement the single trigger for an offer of support. This will free school leaders to concentrate on what matters most, and that’s delivering for pupils.

Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, said:

We wholeheartedly support the government’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy, and want to play our part by ensuring teaching is a career people want to join and stay in. Our new inspection framework supports this aim, and we believe it will reduce teacher workload. Ultimately, this will mean teachers can focus their energy on giving pupils a good curriculum that is well taught.

Russell Hobby, CEO of Teach First commented:

We all expect to be able to juggle work and life. Teachers are no different. It can be challenging for schools to balance flexible working around the school timetable. But with the right support it’s achievable and we’re pleased to see the Department for Education supporting schools on this area. An important step in continuing to attract the best and the brightest to teach.

The Early Career Framework could be transformational in setting strong foundations as teachers develop in their careers. Teaching can be as challenging as it is rewarding and our experience shows that two years of quality, structured, development can enable people to flourish into highly effective teachers and leaders. It’s right that this investment is focused on schools in challenging circumstances where the greatest difference can be made to young lives.

Professor Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching, said:

The Chartered College has worked closely to support the development of the Early Career Framework and believe that it is rooted firmly both in the evidence of what works, but more importantly in the evidence of what is needed.

Early Career teachers deserve the sort of support that new entrants to comparable professions enjoy, and the ECF and the extended induction period create the potential for a transformation of the early career experience for new teachers. This will in turn improve teacher retention and the quality of teaching that children and young people enjoy, and start teachers on the journey of career-long professional learning they deserve.

Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation said:

The Early Career Framework reforms present an enormous opportunity to support teachers to access and apply the best available evidence at an essential point in their careers. By evaluating the roll-out of the programme, we will learn key lessons to ensure that every new teacher in England gets the support they need and deserve. The Education Endowment Foundation has played – and will continue to play – a key role in ensuring the ECF draws on the best available evidence.

Leora Cruddas, CEO of the Confederation of School Trusts said:

The Early Career Framework is perhaps the most important education policy since 2010. It offers an evidence-informed way of strengthening early career retention, development and ultimately the quality of the teachers in the education system in England.

Today’s announcements follow the Education Secretary’s commitment made last year with the teaching unions and Ofsted to strip away unnecessary workload for teachers – where he made clear that neither the government nor Ofsted require teachers to spend time filling out templates for individual lesson plans, or “triple marking” every piece of work.

It also follows the £508 million teachers’ pay grant , and forms part of a drive led by the Education Secretary to trust the best school leaders to make decisions in their staff and pupils’ best interest.

The Department for Education has also today provided more information about the extra £400 million for schools announced in last year’s Budget. On average, primary schools will receive £10,000, while secondary schools will receive £50,000 to invest in improvements to buildings or facilities, including IT equipment.

Alongside this, the allocations that every council will receive for capital projects supporting pupils with special educational needs and disabilities have been published, from a £100 million investment announced in December. Part of the wider investment the government is making to raise education standards, this additional money will pay for more specialist places in mainstream schools, colleges and schools for children with special educational needs, or facilities like sensory rooms or equipment.

In the coming weeks the Department for Education will host a series of regional roadshows across the country to seek more views from teachers and school leaders on the strategy to identify how they can work together to deliver on its aims.