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Teacher recruitment and retention

How you helped shape Government plans.

Teacher recruitment and retention

In the last week of January, the Department for Education(DfE) released its long-awaited strategy to recruit and retain more teachers. It comes in light of a survey showing nine in ten schools struggle to recruit for at least one EBacc subject, and figures from last year revealing there is one teacher leaving for each one joining. With the secondary pupil population growing rapidly, the initiatives in the strategy are highly welcomed including by us at Teach First.

How you helped 

Teach First staff and our community shared our ideas on how to shake-up teacher recruitment and shape the Department for Education’s plans. The DfE listened to Teach First participants at a National Action Network meeting in Derby at the beginning of last year, hearing your ideas for how to motivate more people to join and stay in the profession. Several topics brought up at the consultation are reflected in the final strategy. We want to thank you for the time you took to share your thoughts and show you what happened next. 

Leadership isn’t just being the boss 

Most of you said you wanted career progression. But many of you said you want to deepen your expertise in teaching, not make a move out of the classroom. Previously most development qualifications were linked to school leadership. The new specialist NPQs acknowledge different motivations and offer qualifications in  vital areas such as assessment, behaviour management and subject & curriculum expertise. 

The DfE is proposing to allow schools to spend their apprenticeship levy on NPQ training, in addition to extra funding for the most disadvantaged areas. The strategy also announced a review of the pay framework to consider how such specialist roles should be rewarded.  


You said your mentors made a big difference early in your teaching career. We at Teach First have been working to become experts in mentoring over the last fifteen years as we’ve seen first-hand what a good mentor can support a new teacher achieve. One of the first new NPQs to be rolled out will be in mentorship, and from 2021 all first and second-year teachers will have a fully trained mentor, not just if you’re on the Teach First Leadership Development Programme.

This programme will also be focused on the areas in greatest need and begins in the North East, Bradford, Greater Manchester and Doncaster from September this year. The Education Endowment Foundation will evaluate the pilots, feeding back evidence to make the national rollout more effective.  

All the rest

In our Britain at a Crossroads policy paper we called for a number of options to be explored, including better flexible working arrangements, which made the cut in DfE’s action plan to attract and retain more teachers. We will continue to develop policy ideas that can help teachers, pupils and schools in disadvantaged areas thrive, and work closely with government, politicians and experts to ensure they’re implemented.

For more information about Teach First’s policy work, please contact Emilie at esundorph@teachfirst.org.uk.

For more information about the work of the National Action Network, please contact Mark at mholmes@teachfirst.org.uk

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