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New year, new career?

Although many are considering a teaching career, the NAHT says the government needs to do more to recruit and retain teachers

Posted by Lucinda Reid | January 05, 2017 | People, policy, politics

A new year has begun and for many this signifies the time for a career move. This is illustrated through data from the National College for Teaching and Leadership, as the data shows that in January 2016 the ‘Get Into Teaching’ website saw its highest traffic.

Despite this, the NAHT says that there is still not enough teachers in schools across the country. For example, for the third consecutive year the NAHT recruitment survey showed that eight out of ten school leaders had difficulty with recruitment across all roles, from teachers to senior leaders.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Whilst January may well be the most popular month for people to consider a career switch into teaching, the government is still falling short in its duty to guarantee enough teachers of a high enough standard to match the growing school population. NAHT is not convinced that the government has an adequate plan to guarantee the most basic requirement in education – enough teachers.”

Last month, the government scrapped the National Teaching Service because it was failing to deliver and in November there was a drop in the total number of new entrants to postgraduate Initial Teacher Training courses. NAHT’s latest recruitment data also showed that four in ten school leaders had seen recruitment problems exacerbated by a worryingly high proportion of teachers leaving the profession. It has also been reported that a quarter of all new teachers quit after just three years because of high workload and low pay.

The answer to the recruitment crisis is to reverse the £3bn of cuts that schools face and by using the new National Funding Formula, they can guarantee that the total education budget is sufficient before it is allocated to schools

The government’s own School Teacher Review Body has recommended that the teaching profession needs an increase ‘significantly higher’ than 1% to address recruitment problems. School leaders fear that cuts to the education budget will make this impossible.

Russell continued: “We are seeing the effects of the government’s cuts to education funding. Last month the National Audit Office reported that mainstream schools are expected to find £3 billion in savings by 2019-20. Schools cannot afford to pay salaries that can compete with other professions. Whilst teaching is an undeniably fantastic career choice, highly trained graduates know they can earn more elsewhere. School budgets are being pushed beyond breaking point with seven out of ten NAHT members reporting that their budgets will be untenable by 2020.”

The NAHT believe that the answer to the recruitment crisis is to reverse the £3bn of cuts that schools face and by using the new National Funding Formula, they can guarantee that the total education budget is sufficient before it is allocated to schools.

“The answer to the recruitment crisis is staring the government in the face: we need a nationally coordinated approach to fill every vacancy with a high quality professional, and attractive terms and conditions to keep teachers in the profession for longer. Anything less would be a failure to give children a fair start in life,” concluded Russell.

NAHT represents more than 29,000 school leaders in early years, primary, secondary and special schools, making us the largest association for school leaders in the UK. For more information, visit their website.

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