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A long term plan is needed to address the recruitment and retention crisis, says NAHT

Commenting on the report published today by the Education Select Committee on the recruitment and retention of teachers, Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, says: “school leaders know that there is a recruitment crisis in teaching, across all phases and all areas. The Education Select Committee adds further weight to what our members have been telling us.

“NAHT’s annual recruitment survey published in November highlighted the growing problem of retention. This was cited by 42% of respondents, after more than doubling between 2014 (15%) and 2015 (33%).

“We know that a punitive accountability system creates a negative climate for school leaders and teachers. A culture of fear is never one that helps to deliver the right atmosphere for children to learn in. Because of funding constraints, schools are also unable to offer the Continuing Professional Development teachers need to improve and to feel valued. Workload is also an area where the government can help school leaders focus on what matters, rather than on what can be measured. Teachers work longer hours for less pay, as the government has allowed salaries to fall by 11.5% in real terms since 2010.”

James Bowen, director of middle leaders’ union NAHT Edge, says: “middle leaders are often at the sharp end when it comes to recruitment: difficulties replacing team members, having to teach more and manage less because of gaps in staffing, and the challenge of retaining specialist staff in shortage subjects.

“The committee is right to say the government does not have a long term plan. When missing recruitment targets, there is no drive to include shortfalls in subsequent targets. We hope the government responds positively to this report.”

First published 11 January 2018