Government must heed teacher recruitment crisis wake-up call, not hit the snooze button

Date: 10.06.16
Voice has called on the Government to do more to address the teacher recruitment and retention crisis in England, following publication of a Public Accounts Committee report.The union’s General Secretary also criticised Ofsted.

 


10 June 2016  

Government must heed teacher recruitment crisis wake-up call, not hit the snooze button

Voice: the union for education professionals – which represents teachers and headteachers – has called on the Government to do more to address the teacher recruitment and retention crisis in England, following publication of a critical report by the Public Accounts Committee, Training new teachers. The union’s General Secretary also criticised Ofsted for its role in the problem. 

General Secretary Deborah Lawson said:

“The Committee’s report has been described* as ‘a wake-up call’ for the Government about the teacher recruitment crisis. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first wake-up call for the Government, but it keeps hitting the snooze button instead of waking up. 

The Department for Education has had frequent warnings from the unions, Commons committees and other organisations, but seems to be in denial about the scale of the crisis

“As this latest report points out, there are problems not only with recruiting and retaining teachers, but also with employing teachers with the appropriate subject specialisms. There is also a shortage of specialist SEND (special educational needs and disability) teachers.   

“The system of teacher supply has broken down, partly because the role of universities – which used to be the prime providers of teacher training – has been downgraded while teaching schools – the  Government’s preferred teacher training providers – have consistently under-recruited without being sufficiently held to account.

“Voice would prefer to return to a system where teachers are ‘educated’ rather than ‘trained’ as, whilst teaching does involve practical skills which can be learned from more experienced colleagues within school, this ‘apprenticeship’ system is insufficient for the development of the full range of knowledge and skills which teachers need to acquire in order to be able to make professional judgements and conduct themselves professionally. 

“Teaching is a profession, rather than a ‘craft’, and so requires a degree of higher academic learning to sit alongside work experience.

“Teaching is a great and essential profession, and the Government must do more to bring more recruits into it and keep experienced teachers within it. 

The latest comments from Ofsted Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, about bringing back SATs for 14-year-olds, do little to help the situation. Looking backwards doesn’t help us go forwards. Testing doesn’t in itself raise standards.  

“The punitive, rather than supportive, Ofsted regime has been a major contributory factor in driving teachers out of the profession and deterring new teachers.”   


Further information  

*Interim ASCL General Secretary Malcolm Trobe

Public Accounts Committee, Training new teachers

Ofsted: Sir Michael Wilshaw's June 2016 commentary about the most able pupils

Education Committee welcomes report


Contacts:

Voice Press Office
Email: pressoffice@voicetheunion.org.uk

General Secretary Deborah Lawson
Email: deborahlawson@voicetheunion.org.uk

Tel: 01332 372337