Schools ‘face cri­sis’ as teach­ers quit

Yorkshire Post - - FRONT PAGE - STEVE TEALE NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT ■ Email: yp.news­desk@ypn.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @york­shire­post

ED­U­CA­TION: Schools across Eng­land face a growing sense of cri­sis be­cause the Gov­ern­ment has not dealt with a rise in the num­ber of teach­ers quit­ting, MPs have said.

The Com­mons Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee (PAC) said the Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion (DfE), had “failed to get a grip” on the re­ten­tion of teach­ers.

SCHOOLS ACROSS Eng­land face a growing sense of cri­sis be­cause the Gov­ern­ment has not dealt with a rise in the num­ber of teach­ers quit­ting, MPs have said.

The Com­mons Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee (PAC) crit­i­cised the Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion (DfE), say­ing it had “failed to get a grip” on the re­ten­tion of teach­ers.

The re­port said it was par­tic­u­larly wor­ry­ing that the num­ber of sec­ondary school teach­ers has been fall­ing since 2010.

Schools only man­aged to fill about half of va­cant posts in 2015/16 with qual­i­fied teach­ers who had the ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise re­quired, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

The PAC said the Gov­ern­ment had got the bal­ance wrong by spend­ing £555m a year train­ing new teach­ers, and just £36m on re­tain­ing and de­vel­op­ing teach­ers.

MPs called on the Gov­ern­ment to move to end wide vari­a­tions in the qual­ity of teach­ing across the coun­try. The re­port said that in the Mid­lands and the North of Eng­land more than 20 per cent of pupils were in sec­ondary schools rated as “re­quires im­prove­ment or in­ad­e­quate for teach­ing, learn­ing and as­sess­ment”.

The re­port stated: “The qual­ity of teach­ing and the level of teach­ing va­can­cies vary sig­nif­i­cantly across the coun­try.

“How­ever, the depart­ment does not seem to un­der­stand the rea­sons for the vari­a­tion or the dif­fer­ent chal­lenges that schools in dif­fer­ent re­gions face.”

While the over­all num­ber of teach­ers rose by 15,500 be­tween Novem­ber 2010 and Novem­ber 2016, sec­ondary school posts dropped by 10,800 in the same pe­riod.

MPs ex­pressed con­cern as DfE fore­casts show sec­ondary school pupil num­bers will in­crease by 540,000, al­most 20 per cent, be­tween 2017 and 2025.

The num­ber of teach­ers leav­ing the pro­fes­sion for non-re­tire­ment rea­sons in­creased from 22,260, or six per cent, in 2011 to 34,910, 8.1 per cent, in 2016.

The PAC said pres­sures from work­loads was a big fac­tor in teach­ers leav­ing the pro­fes­sion, as well as liv­ing costs.

The re­port called on the Gov­ern­ment to look at whether ad­e­quately funded ini­tia­tives could help teach­ers with hous­ing costs in ex­pen­sive prop­erty ar­eas.

PAC chair­woman Meg Hil­lier said: “A cri­sis is brew­ing in English class­rooms but Gov­ern­ment ac­tion to address it has been slug­gish and in­co­her­ent.”

A Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion spokesman said: “There are now a record num­ber of teach­ers in our schools – 15,500 more than in 2010 – and last year, de­spite a com­pet­i­tive labour mar­ket with his­toric low un­em­ploy­ment rates and a growing econ­omy, 32,000 trainee teach­ers were re­cruited. Re­ten­tion rates have been broadly sta­ble for the past 20 years and the teach­ing pro­fes­sion con­tin­ues to be an at­trac­tive ca­reer.”

A cri­sis is brew­ing but Gov­ern­ment ac­tion has been slug­gish. Meg Hil­lier, chair of the Com­mons Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee.

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