The Department for Education has released its Teacher Recruitment and Retention strategy, which aims to “make sure a career in teaching continues to be attractive, rewarding and sustainable.”

The strategy seeks to tackle the issues that are of most concern to teachers and school leaders including workload, flexible working opportunities, the high-stakes accountability system and the volume of learning facing new teachers. It aims to free-up more time for teachers to spend teaching, attract more people to the profession and encourage others to remain in the profession.

Several professional organisations including NGA contributed to, and have given their support to, the strategy. These organisations also have an important role in implementing the practices described in the the strategy, which sets out how the government will address challenges with the introduction of new ideas and solutions.

The priorities of the strategy are:

  • to help school leaders in reducing teacher workload;
  • to support early career teachers by introducing an Early Career Framework, extending a reduction in timetable hours to free-up space for teachers in their second year to concentrate on their professional development and strengthening the role of the mentor for improved coaching and support;
  • to position teaching as an attractive profession through promoting flexible working, making it easier to find job shares, and developing specialist qualifications for teachers who want to develop their career in the classroom rather than in leadership;
  • and to improve access to teaching as a career by creating a simplified application process and ‘one-stop’ for initial teacher training including opportunities to ‘try out’ teaching before applying.

Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association said, “Recruitment and retention of teachers is one of the key challenges that school governors and trustees tell us they face, and so we welcome this new strategy from the government. As the employer of staff in the majority of schools, governing boards have an important part they can play in making it a reality in their school. Staff workload, the culture of professional development and flexible working are all practices which governing boards can influence in their school, and can take advantage of the opportunities the strategy affords to support their recruitment and retention. NGA supports its ambition and will do everything we can to contribute to its achievement.”

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