The shortage of teachers is a continuing challenge for the education sector in England, particularly in certain subjects and regions. Although the Government recognises that there are issues, it has been unable to address them and consistently fails to meet recruitment targets. We would like to see a long-term, evidence-based plan for how investment will tackle challenges associated with the supply of teachers—particularly focusing on high-needs subjects and regions—including improvements to the Teacher Supply Model.
Recruiting new teachers has consistently been the Government’s focus to address shortages. While recruiting sufficient new teachers is, of course, necessary, the Government should place greater emphasis on improving teacher retention. Not only is this a more cost effective way to tackle some of the issues, but more teachers staying in the profession for longer would strengthen the pool of leadership positions.
A key driver for teachers considering leaving the profession is unmanageable workload. The Government and Ofsted must do more to encourage good practice in schools and recognise that changes to the school system and accountability play an important part in increasing workload.
In order to raise the status of the teaching profession, and improve retention, teachers must be entitled to high-quality, relevant continuing professional development throughout their careers. This must include a focus on subject-specific knowledge and skills to allow teachers to continually develop their practice and to create future leaders. The College of Teaching will play an important role in this, and we will continue to support and monitor its development. The Government should consider targeted funding and a central statement of annual entitlement for continuing professional development.
20 February 2017