Promising more early career support, opportunities for flexible and part-time working and a reduction in their workload, Education Secretary Damian Hinds has offered teachers a new strategy aimed at making sure talent stays in schools across the country.

The Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, available at assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, presents the response of the Department for Education (DfE) to a number of challenges.

These include:

  • that the current system of school accountability can be confusing for school leaders and create extra pressure and unnecessary workload

  • that too many new teachers leave the profession because of lack of support

  • that flexible working patterns and career trajectories can be hard to find within teaching

  • that too many potential recruits are put off by the long and complicated application process.

“This strategy has been developed in collaboration with many teachers, as well as unions, leading experts and training providers,” the DfE said. “Not just because they know the challenges teachers face, but because we cannot deliver this alone. We all have to play a part if we are to address the issues of recruitment and retention.”

The aim is to deliver on the Education Secretary’s commitment to champion the profession and to build on the 30,000 classroom teachers the Government aims to recruit each year and to support the 450,000 teachers already working in schools in England.

What is on offer?

Creating the Early Career Framework, the DfE aims for “the biggest teaching reform in a generation”, backed by at least £130 million a year in extra funding when fully rolled out. New teachers will receive a two-year package of training and support at the start of their career, including a reduced timetable to allow them to make the most of their training.

Bursaries will be reformed to include retention-based payments for those who stay in the profession by staggering additional payments throughout the first years of their career.

A new one-stop application system should make applications easier for would-be teachers and make it easier for more people to experience classroom teaching.

School leaders will be helped to strip away unnecessary tasks such as data entry; simplifying the accountability system to clarify when a school may be subject to intervention or offered support; and working with Ofsted to ensure staff workload is considered as part of a school’s inspection judgment.

Schools will be helped to introduce flexible working practices through a new match-making service for teachers seeking a job-share and by developing specialist qualifications and non-leadership career routes for teachers who want to stay in the classroom, with additional incentives to work in challenging schools.

Last reviewed 5 February 2019