Championing the teaching profession

Earlier this year, Education Secretary Damian Hinds pledged to tackle teacher workload, drive recruitment and boost the retention of teachers. Education Business looks at what measures the DfE has put in place to achieve these aims

The Education Secretary Damian Hinds has said that his “top priority” was to make sure teaching continues to be regarded as “one of the most rewarding jobs you can do”. So what has been done to attract and retain teachers in the profession?

Pay rises and flexible working

Firstly, the DfE announced that the pay range for classroom teachers will increase by 3.5 per cent.
Schools will continue to determine how their staff are paid but the increases will be funded by government with a new teachers’ pay grant – worth £187 million in 2018/19 and £321 million in 2019/20 from the existing Department for Education budget – paid to all schools on top of their core budgets from the National Funding Formula.

In cash terms, the DfE says that teachers could receive a boost of between £1,184 and £1,366 to their salary, while salaries for new teachers will increase by between £802 and £1003.
Damian Hinds has also pledged to introduce more flexible working practices, including a £5 million fund to help experienced teachers take a sabbatical.

Toolkit to remove workload

To remove some of the burdensome responsibilities from teachers, the DfE has launched a series of online resources.
The toolkit includes advice and workshops on the most burdensome tasks such as pupil feedback and marking, planning and resources, and data management.
The resources also include tools to help schools quickly implement new policies, and cut down on time-consuming tasks such as email communication, and a series of case studies to share knowledge of how schools have used technology to streamline processes.
Alongside this toolkit, a series of online videos that provide advice and guidance on workload have also been made available.
One video – on the theme of planning – features the joint general secretaries of the National Education Union, Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, and makes clear that individual lesson planning is not a requirement from either the Department for Education or Ofsted.

Lesson planning

Money has also been invested into making it easier for teachers to find lesson plans and resources.

The first round of £7.7million Curriculum Fund will provide grants to schools to help them share teaching resources with other schools, saving teachers from having to repeatedly create lessons plans from scratch.

It comes after research by the Department for Education found that many teachers feel lesson planning creates unnecessary workload and that they want easy access to practical resources that will help them put together innovative and effective lessons.

It appears that the clarification of what is expected of teachers is beginning to have an impact on workload. The School Snapshot Survey showed that 73 per cent of the classroom teachers and senior leaders surveyed reported that their school has taken action to review or update school policies to improve workload and 67 per cent reported that their school has taken action to change or reduce marking.

Damian Hinds commented: “I believe we need to get back to the heart of successful teaching – to strip away the workload that doesn’t add value and give teachers the time to focus on what actually matters, the pupils in front of them.

“I am very encouraged that three quarters of school leaders are taking action to review workload and today’s announcements and the practical help they provide should give head teachers the confidence and means to go even further.”

New recruits

The government revealed that in the last academic year, 23,100 newly qualified teachers joined the teacher workforce. What’s more, in a survey by the DfE, ninety-one per cent said that they were confident their training has equipped them well for the classroom.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb: “It has never been a better time to join the teaching profession. This survey demonstrates high levels of satisfaction with teacher training.

“Despite the challenges of recruiting graduates in a strong economy with fierce competition for graduates in other professions and industries, last year we recruited over 32,000 trainee teachers, up three per cent from the previous year. We have recently announced a 3.5 per cent pay rise for teachers in the early part of their careers, and there are ample opportunities for promotion.”

Last year 32,710 trainee teachers were recruited – up by 815 (three per cent) on the previous year. What’s more, 98.7 per cent of all teachers have a degree or higher, which has risen by 4.4 percentage points since 2010, and nearly one in five trainees in 2018 has a first-class degree.