Teachers: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 26th June 2020.

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Photo of Margaret Greenwood Margaret Greenwood Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the covid-19 outbreak on teacher (a) recruitment and (b) retention.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted the life-changing role that teachers play in children’s lives and we want to ensure teaching remains an attractive and fulfilling profession. It is pleasing to note that there has been an eighteen per cent increase in applications for those looking to enter the teaching profession since the COVID-19 outbreak, compared to the equivalent period last year.

We recognise that the COVID-19 outbreak will continue to have a profound impact on teachers and trainees, and we are continuing to work with the sector to understand how we can best support schools during this time.

To support teacher training, the Department has relaxed certain criteria so that courses can be delivered flexibly and innovatively, and we are encouraging all schools to consider how they could play a role in helping to train teachers.

As set out in the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, we have developed a new induction programme to support newly qualified teachers, based on the Early Career Framework (ECF). Further information can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/786856/DFE_Teacher_Retention_Strategy_Report.pdf and https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/773705/Early-Career_Framework.pdf. This will be launched in the North East, Bradford, Doncaster and Greater Manchester as planned from autumn 2020, ahead of a national rollout the following year. Up to 2,000 new teachers in these areas will benefit from additional training and one-to-one mentor sessions in the first two years after qualifying. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-early-career-teachers/rollout-of-early-career-framework-support-package

In response to the disruption to teacher training courses this academic year, a one-year funded programme will also be available to up to 3,000 early career teachers working in schools outside of the early rollout areas from this autumn, with a focus on those serving disadvantaged communities. High-quality training materials – developed for the ECF reforms – will also be made freely available to all early career teachers and their mentors from this September. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-career-framework-reforms-overview/early-career-framework-reforms-overview#expansion

We are committed to providing teachers with the support they need during this period, and have worked with an expert advisory group on measures to support teacher wellbeing. On 7 June 2020, we announced a range of public commitments, including a new pilot project in partnership with the Education Support Partnership to provide online peer-support and telephone supervision from experts to around 250 school leaders. This is in addition to funding Timewise to provide practical support and resources on flexible working in light of new arrangements for schools responding to coronavirus. Lessons from these pilots will inform our future intervention in this area.

Teacher recruitment and retention will continue to be a core priority for this Government, and we will do all we can to ensure there are great teachers for every child in the country.

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