In a bid to tackle England’s teacher recruitment crisis, the government says it will offer cash incentives and a better work-life balance to keep teachers in secondary schools.
Under plans published by ministers, some secondary school teachers will be offered £5,000 in their third and fifth years of working in the classroom.
That will be in addition to the £20,000 training bursaries being offered.
Also, some young teachers could have time being protected for extra training.
Currently, a teacher who wants to work in subjects with teacher shortages such as chemistry, physics and languages can receive up to £26,000 as a bursary.
However, Labour says the plan will not do much to reverse six years of missed teacher recruitment targets.
Predicted rise in pupil numbers in secondary schools
One of the issues the government is trying to tackle is a predicted rise in pupil numbers in secondary schools, which will increase by 15% in England by 2025.
But the unfolding teacher recruitment crisis means that there aren’t enough teachers undergoing training and too many are opting to leave.
The figures for 2018/19 reveal that the number of people starting secondary school teacher training was 17% below its target.
The largest shortfalls for recruitment are in chemistry, physics and computing.
This has led to more lessons in many secondary schools being taught by those who are not specialists in the subject.
Young teachers are opting to leave the profession
There’s also a growing concern that young teachers are opting to leave the profession because they are disillusioned, overworked and burnt-out.
Official figures reveal that of those teachers that began working in 2012, around a third have left teaching within five years.
Research has also revealed that the big issue for teachers is workload rather than pay even though teaching pay has fallen behind many graduate professions.
The government has accepted advice from independent advisers this year that they should allow a pay rise for many teachers of up to 3.5%.
This means that the minimum starting salary for a teacher in England will be £22,917 and this rises to £28,660 for inner-London schools.
However, other graduate starting salaries are estimated to start at £30,000 in other sectors, including banking, which also recruit science and maths graduates.
Retain more young teachers in their jobs
Now the government plans highlight that they aim to retain more young teachers in their jobs and they are also promising a reduced timetable of teaching and more support for training.
This means that for teachers in their second year, around 5% of their timetable, which could be an hour or two a week, will be protected for training purposes.
Damian Hinds, the education secretary, says he also wants to reduce paperwork levels that leave teachers ‘demoralised’.
He said: “I believe teachers work too many hours and it’s aggravated with unnecessary tasks like excessive data entry and marking and spending time on non-teaching tasks.”
The education secretary also says he’s looking into a scheme that would enable secondary school teachers in England to work part-time or effectively job share with someone else.
Deliver enough teachers to meet the demand
The chief executive of the National Foundation for Education Research, Carole Willis, said she welcomed the government’s plan but questioned whether the scheme will be implemented quickly to deliver enough teachers to meet the demand from increasing pupil numbers.
However, Geoff Barton of the ASCL, says the government’s plan could be a ‘game changer’ in trying to tackle several key issues at the same time.