Science: Teachers

Department for Education written question – answered on 25th October 2021.

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Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support early career science teachers whose training was disrupted by the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

The department is creating a world-class teacher development system by transforming the training and support teachers and head teachers receive at every stage of their career. We are investing an unprecedented amount of funding to improve the quality and delivery of professional development for teachers giving us a significant opportunity to impact pupil outcomes.

The department acknowledges the disruption to teacher training for early career science teachers, indeed for all teachers, during the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why we ensured that Initial Teacher Training (ITT) trainees and their tutors were designated as critical workers at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak. We encouraged schools to host ITT trainees throughout the national lockdowns and beyond to provide as many trainees as possible with a varied training experience in schools.

The sector coordinated examples from ITT providers of flexible and innovative approaches to placements, which were shared through sector channels. Those trainees whose courses were severely disrupted and needed extra time to qualify were given government funded course extensions, allowing them the opportunity to achieve Qualified Teacher Status.

As part of the education recovery plan announced in June 2021, we secured over £250 million of additional funding to provide 500,000 world-leading training opportunities for teachers and leaders, wherever they are in their career. The package includes £69 million to extend the rollout of the Early Career Framework (ECF) reforms to meet far higher than expected demand for the programme. The ECF reforms are transforming support for early career teachers, introducing the most significant reform to teaching since it became a graduate only profession.

The department is investing over £130 million a year to ensure that all new teachers have access to a fully funded entitlement to an extended two-year induction to the profession. The structured package of support is linked to the best available research evidence, alongside funded time off timetable in the second year of teaching and support for mentors.

The ECF was designed in consultation with the education sector and covers five core areas: behaviour management, pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and professional behaviours, and is designed to work for all early career teachers regardless of their subject, phase or school. The lead providers delivering the programme have ensured that there are materials and exemplification to cover a range of subjects, including science.

More widely we are committed to gathering evidence about the implementation and impact of the ECF, to ensure that it continues to provide the best support for new teachers entering the profession. Therefore, we are working with the Education Endowment Foundation to design a comprehensive package of evaluation activity which will ensure the reforms remain relevant, up to date and open to all.

We are committed to ensuring that all schools have access to highly skilled teachers. The department funds a package of programmes to support subject-specific professional development for science teachers. These include the network of Science Learning Partnerships delivering local continuing professional development (CPD) and support to increase the take up of triple science and Project Enthuse which provides bursaries for teachers to participate in CPD.

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