School Improvement Commission report published

Union NAHT has published its report from the School Improvement Commission. It highlights the need for greater support and professional development for teachers and leaders, to make sure schools are well set up to respond to future challenges and continuously improve the quality of education provided over the next decade.

Nick Brook, NAHT’s deputy general secretary, who chaired the commission, said: “It is abundantly clear that current approaches are not driving improvements in education in the way the government hoped or intended. Before the pandemic hit, annual increases in standards had slowed and the attainment gap had stopped closing. NAHT’s commission brought together internationally renowned experts to consider how to better support all schools to improve further.”

The commission’s report makes several recommendations, including stating that the government should extend the commitment to funded support for new and recently qualified teachers to all teachers and leaders by 2025.

The report urges the government to develop a fully-funded support package, to provide structured support for all new head teachers, and create a new bursary fund to facilitate and incentivise participation in NPQs. It also calls for a more compelling proposition to encourage the most successful leaders to become National Leaders in Education, create a national network of high-quality teacher development providers, and provide more support and incentives for leaders working in the most deprived communities. The report also calls for a refocus of Ofsted's work to provide stronger diagnostic insight for schools that are struggling.

Brook concluded: “The last few months have been challenging. But there is an urgent need to do more than just restore the factory settings of education. We need to seize the opportunity presented to make changes to the parts of the education system that simply aren’t working as well as they should.

“The best response to the damage inflicted by covid-19 on learning is to ensure that every pupil is taught by an expert teacher, someone who is continually improving their skills and is properly supported to do their job, in whatever circumstances they work. Now is precisely the time to invest in the ongoing development of professionals throughout their careers so that teachers can thrive and pupils can succeed.”

The report is being launched at an event being jointly held with the Wellcome Trust and the Teacher Development Trust.
Maria Cunningham, head of education at the Teacher Development Trust, said: "We positively welcome these important and timely recommendations from NAHT and the School Improvement Commission.

“Not only is it increasingly clear that prioritising high-quality staff development is the key to sustainable school turnaround, but critically for the current context, it is also a means of successfully navigating the complexities and uncertainties of covid-19 and keeping teachers in the profession.”

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