Here are ten cures for the teacher shortage.
- Stop talking teachers and schools down. Every time you (falsely) mention how poorly we compare to our international competitors or how we need to raise standards in our schools, you put people off. Few want to play for a losing side.
- If you’re going to offer financial incentives to, say Maths, Science graduates, then why not tie them into teaching for a few years? At the moment, it’s a no brainer to train for a year and receive a £30,000 grant. Especially if you don’t even have to teach afterwards.
- Develop good career pathways for teachers who don’t want to move into management but who still want their excellence and expertise to be recognised. Value and reward experience.
- Increase funding to schools so they can afford to employ good teachers.
- Broaden out the EBacc to cover more subjects – e.g. more humanities subjects like RE or Philosophy and the arts. This will reduce the burden on finding History/Geog teachers and is a healthier spread of subjects for young people.
- Make salaries more attractive to graduates. People used to not mind being paid less as a teacher when they could still afford to buy a home. The housing market is making teaching less attractive to graduates who can’t afford high rents or mortgages.
- Reduce workload by incorporating marking and planning time into directed hours. I don’t mean an hour a week. I mean proper time that reflects the reality of the job. Yes, it’s going to cost you.
- Reduce workload by ensuring that teachers don’t have to spend hours preparing for Ofsted inspections. Reform Ofsted so that it plays a role in supporting and transforming schools rather than judging them and walking away. Remove grading and bring in formative support.
- Stop calling teachers cheats when they try to find the best possible ways of securing their own and their students’ survival. If you create a hostile environment, don’t be surprised when people fight to survive in it.
- Expand university training provision and remove tuition fees from those routes. They offer some of the best value for money and best retention rates for ITT. Stop on the one hand, promoting the value of an academic education and on the other, attacking university academics as “blobs”.
None of this is cheap. But then, I’m yet to hear an education secretary stand up and say they want a Poundland Education System. All I hear is World Class. That costs. Cough up.