Brand new measures announced to enhance recruitment and retention in teaching 

New measures to enhance recruitment and retention in the teaching profession have been announced by the government today (15 January). 

The government said these measures include £1.5 million of new investment to deliver a three-year mental health and wellbeing support package for school and college leaders; providing professional supervision and counselling to at least 2,500 leaders.  

The government said it is also committing to publish new guidance for schools – expected to be completed this spring – on how to prevent and tackle bullying and harassment of school staff.  

The measures have been announced after consultation with school leaders and teachers around the improvements they believe will ensure that teaching remains an attractive and rewarding profession.  

Commenting on this, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Sadly, we have seen an increase in unacceptable behaviour towards school staff in recent years. Guidance on this may be of some help, however we also need a clear message from government that harassment and aggression towards school staff will never be tolerated. We urge the government to go further on this. 

“Every school leader deserves access to professional supervision and counselling where appropriate so an extension of this scheme is helpful. We urge the government to ensure that all school leaders can access fully funded supervision wherever they work. 

“But we also need the government to go beyond a focus on tackling the symptoms of stress and poor wellbeing in the school workforce. It is essential we also start tackling the root causes, including the overly punitive accountability regime that currently does so much harm.” 

Separately, the Workload Reduction Taskforce – a cross-cutting group made up of unions, teachers, and sector leaders – has agreed early recommendations to help reduce teacher workload and encourage education staff wellbeing to support the department’s aim to reduce teachers’ and leaders’ working week by five hours within the next three years.  

The group will make final recommendations on how to address the wider causes of teacher and leader workload to government, Ofsted, and school and trust leaders in Spring 2024. 

The government said this builds on the Public Sector Productivity Programme led by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Chancellor, which is revealing huge opportunities to cut admin, safely harness Artificial Intelligence and deliver early interventions to relieve pressure on public services.  

 School Minister Damian Hinds said: “Great teaching is the key ingredient to academic success – and while we now have more teachers than ever before – it’s crucial that we continue to ensure that teaching remains an attractive and rewarding profession. 

 “That’s why we have announced new investment and reforms today to support teacher wellbeing, ease workload pressures and tackle bullying and harassment of staff. 

 “Thanks to the hard work of teachers and pupils, standards in education have risen significantly since 2010, with nearly 90% of schools now rated good or outstanding.” 

The government mentioned they delivered on the manifesto commitment to give every new teacher a starting salary of at least £30,000 – alongside the highest pay award for teachers in over thirty years. They said that with thanks to the hard work of teachers, standards of education have risen sharply since this government entered office in 2010. They said that 89% of school rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, up from just 68% in 2010.  

The Workload Reduction Taskforce was launched by the Secretary of State alongside the pay award in July 2023. They were initially tasked with finding ways to maximise sign up to the Education Staff Wellbeing Charter – a public commitment to the wellbeing and mental health of everyone working in education – and strengthening the implementation of the 2016 independent workload review groups’ recommendations which looked at on reducing teacher workload in relation to marking, planning and data management.  

Alongside this, the department said it is honouring its commitment to publish its progress update on the Education Staff Wellbeing Charter – two years after it was initially launched. The update shows the progress made on its pledges, including the commitment to: embed staff workload and wellbeing considerations into government decisions; measure and respond to changes in staff wellbeing; and make sure guidance meets user needs. Over 3,000 schools and colleges have adopted the charter so far. 

The department has also renewed a contract with Now Teach to support career changers into teaching, helping bring in talented, experienced professionals into the profession. The contract, valued at £1.5 million will support career changes up to October 2026. 

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