Commenting on the announcement on career development for teachers to be made today (9 May 2018) by Education Secretary Damian Hinds, Deborah Lawson, General Secretary of Voice: the union for education professionals, said:
“We welcome the positive messages from the Education Secretary and his positive actions to address the teacher recruitment and retention crisis.
“Voice has been calling for sabbaticals to be made available to teachers.
“Sabbaticals would enable teachers to take a step outside the classroom to further explore and develop specific areas of their practice. They would renew motivation and engagement and allow teachers to see themselves as valued professionals whose career is being invested in.
“We will need to see the full details, but it is important that schools are given the resources to cover for teachers on sabbaticals, and that those teachers are given the freedom to take them.
“Allowing teachers to take sabbaticals at an earlier stage in their careers should also be considered.
“The status of teachers and teaching is something which has been eroded over a number of years and is an important factor in the current recruitment and retention crisis, along with the erosion of salaries compared with other graduate professions, workload and the Government’s accountability regime.
“Emphasising and formalising career development opportunities for teachers is a positive direction of travel and is fundamental to strengthening qualified teacher status (QTS).
“We also welcome the announcements on flexible working and clarification on accountability.
“Although all these initiatives will not relieve the burdens on the teaching profession in the short term, the longer-term picture has potential.”
- the induction period should be extended to two years;
- there should be consistency in mentoring;
- a national continuing professional development (CPD) framework should be developed for early career teachers; and
- relevant sabbaticals should be made available to teachers.