The Department for Education (DfE) has today published its Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, which NASBTT has been involved in shaping. Giving her reaction to the strategy, NASBTT Executive Director Emma Hollis said:
“NASBTT is pleased that the government has clearly recognised the challenges faced by the teaching profession and is committing to address them. It is good to see competitive salaries and pathways for teachers remaining in the classroom on the agenda, alongside the acknowledgement that there is a highly competitive (and shrinking) graduate market. We are also thrilled that our own contributions to the development of the strategy are recognised and we are committed to continue to work in consultation with DfE as plans are put into action.
We are especially delighted that the Early Career Framework (ECF) is outlined as we hoped for – and we look forward to seeing the transformative plans for an entitlement to professional development for all early career teachers being implemented. It was essential to have a commitment to funding the ECF, as well as the additional time off-timetable in the second year of teaching for all for early career teachers, and we are pleased that both are guaranteed.
Having previously advocated that mentoring is crucial to making the ECF work, we are very pleased to see the strong focus on quality mentoring, with fully-funded mentor training. This commitment is also reflected in plans to launch the Teacher Developer NPQ, which will be explicitly tied to the ECF, as the first of a new suite of qualifications. We would be delighted to share with the DfE our expertise in creating our own suite of Teacher Educator Programmes which develop the knowledge and skills of those people working in schools who support and educate other teachers, including newly-appointed mentors, coaches, CPD co-ordinators, CPD facilitators and teaching school managers.
We are excited about working with the DfE and other key sector bodies to ensure that the ECF builds on and complements high-quality ITT, starting with a review to the ITT core content guidance. Whilst we also appreciate plans to streamline the complicated application process for candidates, we need to ensure there is continued support for partnership working and a change in the dialogue from schools-led or HE teacher training providers to a recognition that both are valuable and both are needed for a vibrant, choice-driven marketplace.
We are therefore cautiously optimistic about plans to rationalise the complex ITT market but maintain that this must not disadvantage smaller providers where they are necessary and valuable – for example in remote areas, coastal regions and other cold spots. We would also encourage caution in any review of the ITT market – the wording of the strategy points to there being a need for a “more efficient and effective system”. However, if taken out of context this could undermine the sustained contribution and impact of School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) providers and School Direct Lead Schools, and the challenges they face around recruitment, a message that needs to be emphasised.
We maintain that government teacher recruitment policies should aim for the brightest and the best and not simply ‘bums on seats’, and the DfE must put its trust in local providers to ascertain local need and set their recruitment practices accordingly.”