Recruiting 6,500 new teachers – Labour’s ‘first steps for change’

Keir Starmer, head of the UK Labour Party, has declared teacher recruitment as one of its national missions to ‘get Britain’s future back’ that were published today.

The sixth national mission of Labour’s ‘First Steps for Change’ is recruiting 6,500 new teachers in the UK.

Labour said it will ‘break down the barriers to opportunity’ by recruiting the new teachers in key subjects where there are shortages. The aim is to boost standards and ensure that every child has access to high-quality education provision.

The political party said it will do this by targeting recruitment towards shortage subjects and schools which find it hardest to recruit and retain staff, like science and maths. 

Labour added that it will review the curriculum so that it has greater breadth including developing creativity, digital and communication skills that will set young people up for life and work.

Reforming Ofsted is a part of its mission, so the company gives parents better information, with a scorecard that values breadth and not just a single headline grade.

Labour said it will tackle the attendance crisis and reform the curriculum and assessment system, so speaking skills are taken as seriously as reading and writing, and creativity and problem solving are woven throughout. The party also said young people will have the digital skills needed to thrive.

Commenting on Labour’s six ‘first steps’ election policies announcement, NFER school workforce lead, Jack Worth said: “NFER welcomes the Labour party making teacher supply a key policy priority, as solving this key challenge would provide the education sector with the capacity it needs to deliver a high-quality education for children and young people.

“As well as taking ‘first-steps’, a  long-term strategy will be needed to improve the attractiveness of teaching, with a range of ambitious and cost effective measures to improve both recruitment and retention.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “We are in the middle of one of the most serious recruitment and retention crises that we have seen for decades.

“A reset of the relationship with the teacher profession is long overdue, and we welcome Labour’s pledge to recruit more new teachers to the profession.

“It’s encouraging that Labour has recognised the long-running recruitment crisis. To recruit an extra 6,500 teachers, any future government will need to make teaching a competitive career in the graduate marketplace again, by undoing over a decade of real terms pay cuts, reducing workload, and resetting the brutal Ofsted inspection regime, removing single word judgments.

“We also must not forget that recruitment is only half the picture. The next government will also need to focus on retaining the teachers and leaders we already have as currently too many are choosing to leave the profession.”

The other national missions include:

  • Delivering economic stability to grow the economy and keep taxes, inflation and mortgages as low as possible
  • Cutting NHS waiting times with 40,000 more evening and weekend appointments each week
  • Launching a new Border Security Command
  • Setting up Great British Energy, a publicly-owned clean power company, to cut bills for good and boost energy security
  • Cracking down on antisocial behaviour

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