Teacher recruitment and retention will remain a significant challenge, says Education Committee

The Education Committee has today published the Government response to the Committee’s Recruitment and Retention of Teachers report.

The Committee’s original report had covered a range of issues relating to teacher recruitment and retention, highlighting concerns over teacher workload, the status of teachers, shortcomings in the Department for Education’s teacher supply data, and the ability of teachers to undertake high quality continuing professional development (CPD).

A Government spokesman welcomed the Committee’s inquiry, saying:

“The evidence is clear that the quality of teachers and teaching is the single most important school-based factor determining the standard of education. The impact of being taught by a good teacher disproportionately affects the most disadvantaged children.  If we are to achieve our ambition of securing a world-class education for every pupil in England—regardless of their background—then every school needs to be able to recruit and retain the best teachers.

“Recruiting, retaining and developing high-quality teachers is by no means a simple task. Government, schools and the teaching profession must work together to deliver this. An example of this collaboration is the recent establishment of the independent Chartered College of Teaching. Initially funded by Government, this new body provides an opportunity for teachers to establish a stronger professional identity for themselves, putting it on a par with other high-status professions.

“The Department believes that the range of interventions, support and initiatives that are in place are having a positive impact on ensuring that teaching is, and remains, an attractive career choice for the highest calibre of professionals. The Government is committed to doing whatever it can, working closely with the profession as a whole, to ensure that every pupil in England’s schools is taught by excellent teachers.”

The response comes shortly after news reports last week showed that a major government scheme that aimed to recruit more than 500 specialist maths teachers at colleges has accepted just 13 participants in its first year.  The scheme was launched by former skills minister Matthew Hancock, who announced in February 2014 that up to £20 million would be made available to encourage the “brightest and the best” to teach maths in FE.

This involved two key recruitment schemes, including a golden hello – which would award a bonus of £7,500 to graduates who taught maths in FE, provided they had been working at a college for two years.

Specialist education publisher FE Week described the scheme as a ‘flop’, as their Freedom of Information Request found that just 13 teachers were recruited in its first year, with payments totalling £97,500 in 2016/17.

Anne Haworth, chair of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics, said:

“This is not the first such scheme to fail. Maybe what we need to be looking for, rather than incentives which tend to have a short life, is to make teaching more attractive generally to graduates and others.”


Commenting on the Government’s response, Neil Carmichael, MP, Chair of the Education Committee, said:

“The problems of recruiting and retaining teachers will remain a significant challenge for schools over the coming years and the Government will need to focus on helping to tackle  issues such as teacher workload and access to continuing professional development. The next Government should set out clearly how it will encourage teachers to stay in the profession and ensure recruitment targets are improved.”  


Author: Editorial Team

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