According to education minister Nick Gibb, teacher shortages are caused by a ‘strong economy’.
When asked an urgent question about teacher recruitment, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner claims that the continuing ‘real-term pay cuts’ should be blamed for teachers leaving their profession.
However, education minister Nick Gibb told the Commons that the biggest issue causing all this problem was the competition from other sectors. This includes the commerce transferring teachers, and he plans to tackle this issue by using a new strategy to make teaching much more attractive.
Mr Gibb said: “The principal challenge we face in teacher recruitment is the fact we have a strong economy, with record numbers of jobs and the lowest level of unemployment since the 1970s.
“We are competing with other professions, with commerce and with industry, for the best graduates in our economy.
“A strong economy is not a challenge likely to face any Labour government, who whenever they are in office damage the public finances, damage the economy and destroy jobs.”
Just recently, the Department of Education unveiled a whole new teacher recruitment strategy that’s worth of a minimum of £130 million per year. There’s also a new entitlement dedicated to a 2-year training package and a minimized timetable.
However, as what Labour’s Ms Rayner emphasized, the crisis of the teacher workforce cannot be dealt with without taking into account the continuing pay cuts.
“His most recent pay deal means a quarter of a million teachers – the majority in fact – are facing another real-terms pay cut,” she said.
“The teaching workforce crisis cannot be separated from the years of cuts to pay and education budgets… I hope this Government is going to start valuing them with more than just warm words.”
Mr Gibb responded by saying he was surprised at the tone of Ms Rayner, considering the fact that teaching unions had widely welcomed the new strategy. He added: “This is a very effective recruitment and retention strategy that has the support of the sector.”
However, according to Education Secretary Damian Hinds, teachers work too many hours while he plans the boost of the number of working professional teachers.
The new strategy was formed after the information from a survey of the National Association of Head Teachers revealed that 77% of school leaders consider teacher recruitment a struggle in 2018.
The plans for the strategy include helping school leaders reduce the workload of teachers by eliminating unnecessary tasks like data entry.
Mr Hinds said: “I think teachers work too many hours – aggravated by unnecessary tasks like excessive marking and data entry, spending more than half their time on non-teaching tasks.
“But those who choose to become teachers chose to do so to inspire young people, support their development and set them up for a bright future – not stay late in the office filling in a spreadsheet.
“This ambitious strategy commits to supporting teachers – particularly those at the start of their career – to focus on what actually matters, the pupils in their classrooms.
“In a competitive graduate labour market, we must continue to ensure that teaching is an attractive profession so we can train and retain the next generation of inspirational teachers.”