DfE Reveals Retention and Recruitment Plans

By Jocelyn Levy | 2nd November 2020 | 7 min read

The Department for Education has revealed a new swathe of plans aimed at both increasing recruitment and ensuring retention of new teaching talent. In the face of rising student numbers, the number of teachers is in desperate need of attention. Not enough are being recruited and too many are leaving currently.

Improve workload, improve recruitment

One of central themes of the DfE’s plans for recruitment is to improve workload. Even more than pay, workload is cited as a major issue by teachers. Ofsted’s criteria is being adjusted so that inspections themselves contribute to less pressure. Ofsted inspections will also evaluate unnecessary workloads. The DfE want to put the focus back on teaching and not on tasks outside the classroom.

Floor and coasting standards are being removed to simplify Ofsted’s accountability system. An Ofsted judgement of “requires improvement” will instead trigger support for schools. Damian Hinds, Education Secretary, said:

“This ambitious strategy commits to supporting teachers – particularly those at the start of their career – to focus on what actually matters, the pupils in their classrooms. In a competitive graduate labour market, we must continue to ensure that teaching is an attractive profession so we can train and retain the next generation of inspirational teachers.”

Increasing recruitment

How quickly newly qualified teachers leave the profession is a major problem in recruitment. There are a number of efforts in the plans therefore to tackle this problem. The application process for a start is being simplified. It aims to make job-sharing possible and part-time work easier.

Once teachers are in the door, more is going to be done to help them in the first few years of their career. A new £130 million Early Career Framework fund is designed to support students in the first two-years in the job. It will provide more training opportunities and mentoring away from the classroom. This should help manage workload increase more smoothly. In certain subjects, teachers in their third and fifth years could be recipients of extra cash bursaries worth up to £5,000 too.

It’s good to see efforts made to improve recruitment and retention. Schools, secondaries in particular, are facing large increases of students in the next few years. Technology can help schools become more efficient and deal with increased numbers of students from an admin and operations point of view. But the current crop of teachers cannot do it alone – they need more support and they will need to see their numbers equally increase.

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DfE: Teacher recruitment and retention strategy