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TALIS – ‘There’s still time to rescue the teaching profession’, says Paul Whiteman

Responding to the release of the OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2018 results today, comparing the working conditions and learning environments of teachers and school leaders internationally, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“Looking at these results, it is no wonder that the number of teachers leaving the profession in England has risen in the last five years, leaving the UK with one of the least experienced workforces in the world. The current levels of workload in teaching, combined with a lack of pay and poor conditions, are totally unsustainable. Teachers in England work the fourth longest hours of all the compared nations, including the highest number of non-teaching hours – to the extent that a ‘part-time’ role actually requires full-time hours.

“These findings must serve as a blunt warning for the government. Teachers are graduates who have many career choices open to them. They go into teaching with passion, because they care and want to make a difference, but we have to treat them well and respect their need for a work-life balance if we expect them to stay.

“The DfE have recently taken a helpful step towards tackling some of the problems highlighted by TALIS, especially around teacher training and development, with their recruitment and retention strategy – the most important aspect of which is the Early Careers Framework (ECF). Delivered well, the ECF could help new teachers to build their confidence and hone their skills, providing the foundations for a successful career in teaching, and creating the school leaders of the future.

“However, more is needed to create a truly positive proposition for a career in teaching. The essential components include competitive pay, attractive and flexible working conditions, a healthy work-life balance, opportunities for career-long continuing professional development, and lower risk ways of holding schools to account. Ultimately it is very simple: pay people properly and treat them well.”

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363