Education

31.01.18

‘Crisis brewing’ in secondary education, MPs warn

The number of secondary school teachers has been falling rapidly since 2010, it has been revealed.

A report by the public accounts committee has shown that since 2012 more teachers have been leaving the profession for reasons other than retirement.

Although the overall number of teachers has risen, the number of secondary school teachers fell by 4.9% between 2010 and 2016.

Many teachers have said that their heavy workload is the reason for exiting the profession.

This, combined with rising pupil numbers and pressures for schools to make significant savings has led to a “growing sense of crisis” for schools in England as they struggle to retain and develop their teachers.

The report claims that the Department for Education has given “insufficient priority” to teacher retention, arguing that the current situation could have been predicted and that action should have been taken to address it.

Spending on training new teachers has been 15 times greater than spending on supporting the existing workforce, and the report argues that the department’s “disparate collection of small-scale interventions” are “inadequate to address the underlying issues.”

The report also criticises the department’s lack of understanding of the various challenges faced by schools in different regions.

Chair of the public accounts committee, Meg Hillier, said that a “crisis is brewing,” and called government action: “sluggish and incoherent.”

“It should have been clear to senior civil servants that growing demand for school places, combined with a drive for schools to make efficiency savings, would only build pressure in the system,” she stated.

“Instead they seem to have watched on, scratching their heads, as more and more teachers quit the profession.”

She said that the committee expects a targeted, measurable plan to support struggling schools and address teacher retention “as a matter of urgency.”

In 2015-16, only around half of vacancies were filled with sufficiently qualified and experienced teachers, with varying teaching quality across the country, she continued.

“There is a real danger that, without meaningful intervention from government, these challenges will become an intractable threat to children’s education,” concluded Hillier.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “There are now a record number of teachers in our schools – 15,500 more than in 2010 – and last year, despite a competitive labour market with historic low unemployment rates and a growing economy, 32,000 trainee teachers were recruited.

“Retention rates have been broadly stable for the past 20 years, and the teaching profession continues to be an attractive career.”

They continued: “We want to continue to help schools recruit and retain the best teachers.

“We are consulting on proposals to improve and increase development opportunities for teachers across the country and working with teachers, unions and Ofsted to tackle unnecessary workload with specific support for teachers at the start of their careers.

“Alongside this we continue to offer financial incentives to attract the brightest and best into our classrooms.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Local income tax could give councils billions in extra funding, IFS report reveals

21/03/2019Local income tax could give councils billions in extra funding, IFS report reveals

A ‘local income tax’ could provide councils in the UK with an extra £6bn a year per 1% in order to help them meet rising costs ... more >
Commissioners report that Northamptonshire’s finances have ‘improved considerably’ but still risk ahead

21/03/2019Commissioners report that Northamptonshire’s finances have ‘improved considerably’ but still risk ahead

The two government-appointed commissioners have reported that Northamptonshire County Council’s financial position has “improved cons... more >
Watchdog urges Scottish councils to make ‘fundamental changes’ to meet shifting demands

21/03/2019Watchdog urges Scottish councils to make ‘fundamental changes’ to meet shifting demands

Scottish councils have been urged to make “fundamental, transformational changes” to how frontline services are designed and delivere... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
View all News

the raven's daily blog

Councils Can: LGA launches Spending Review campaign

18/03/2019Councils Can: LGA launches Spending Review campaign

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, outlines his organisation’s campaign to make sure local government tops to government’s list for this year’s Spending Review. Our #CouncilsCan campaign to influence this year’s Spending Review is well underway and gathering momentum. The money local governm... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Camberley inspired: investment and regeneration

11/03/2019Camberley inspired: investment and regeneration

The decline of the Great British high street has been one of the greatest concerns for local councils in recent years, leading to some innovative... more >
Swindon's solar-powered recycling centre saves council cash

11/03/2019Swindon's solar-powered recycling centre saves council cash

Steve Cains, head of power solutions at Public Power Solutions, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Swindon Borough Council, describes the benefits of... more >
National Infrastructure Commission: Progressing the North

11/03/2019National Infrastructure Commission: Progressing the North

The National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) National Infrastructure Assessment was released in July 2018, making a variety of recommenda... more >
SARS II: Recovery made easy

11/03/2019SARS II: Recovery made easy

Paul Bentley, of the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), introduces us to the Spend Analysis Recovery Framework: a no win no fee means of carrying ou... more >

interviews

Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... more >
Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

public sector focus

View all News