ASCL comment on NFER teacher training report

21/09/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the report of the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) on teacher training applications.
 
Commenting on the report of the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) on teacher training applications, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“It is sad that the surge in teacher training applications has apparently been driven by the grim circumstances of the Covid crisis. Nevertheless, it is a relief in helping to address the persistent problem of severe teacher shortages, and testimony to the resilience of teaching as an enriching and rewarding career option.

“The challenge now is to ensure that we retain these prospective teachers in our schools. Far too many teachers currently leave the profession early in their careers and we have to do better. The government is improving early career salaries, and introducing an enhanced package of support and training. These are welcome steps.

“However, there are systemic issues which need to be addressed. Government underfunding of the education system has left schools having to do more with less, and this drives up pressure and workload. Schools are also subjected to an eye-watering level of accountability and we think this is deleterious to welfare.

“These conditions are not conducive to teacher retention over the long term. While the government is now investing more money in schools, it is not enough to reverse the cuts that have already taken place, and this has to be addressed. The accountability system also urgently needs reviewing so that it is more proportionate and less punitive.”