This story by Julian Owen in Academy Today on 30th January 2019.

NASBTT helped develop the DfE’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy. Here, the organisation’s Emma Hollis gives her response to its publication.

he National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT) is pleased that the government has clearly recognised the challenges faced by the teaching profession and is committing to address them. It is good to see competitive salaries and pathways for teachers remaining in the classroom on the agenda, alongside the acknowledgement that there is a highly competitive (and shrinking) graduate market. We are also thrilled that our own contributions to the development of the strategy are recognised, and we are committed to continue to work in consultation with the Department for Education (DfE) as plans are put into action.

We are especially delighted that the Early Career Framework (ECF) is outlined as hoped, and we look forward to seeing the transformative plans for an entitlement to professional development for all early career teachers being implemented. It was essential to have a commitment to funding the ECF, as well as the additional time off-timetable in the second year of teaching for all early career teachers, and we are pleased that both are guaranteed.

Having previously advocated that mentoring is crucial to making the ECF work, we are very pleased to see the strong focus on quality mentoring, with fully-funded training. This commitment is also reflected in plans to launch the teacher developer National Professional Qualification (NPQ) – explicitly tied to the ECF – as the first of a new suite of qualifications. We would be delighted to share with the DfE our expertise in creating our own suite of teacher educator programmes, which develop the knowledge and skills of those people working in schools who support and educate other teachers (including newly-appointed mentors, coaches, CPD co-ordinators, CPD facilitators and teaching school managers).

We maintain that Government teacher recruitment policies should aim for the brightest and best

We are excited about working with the DfE and other key sector bodies to ensure that the ECF builds on and complements high quality initial teacher training (ITT), starting with a review to the ITT core content guidance. Whilst we also appreciate plans to streamline the complicated application process for candidates, we need to ensure there is continued support for partnership working and a change in the dialogue, from schools-led or HE teacher training providers to a recognition that both are valuable and equally necessary for a vibrant, choice-driven marketplace.

We are, therefore, cautiously optimistic about plans to rationalise the complex ITT market, but maintain that this must not disadvantage smaller providers where they are necessary and valuable – for example, in remote areas, coastal regions and other cold spots. We would also encourage caution in any review of the ITT market – the wording of the strategy points to there being a need for a “more efficient and effective system”. However, if taken out of context, this could undermine the sustained contribution and impact of school-centred initial teacher training providers and School Direct lead schools, and the challenges they face around recruitment. This message needs to be emphasised.

We maintain that Government teacher recruitment policies should aim for the brightest and best – not simply bums on seats – and the DfE must put its trust in local providers to ascertain local need and set their recruitment practices accordingly.

NASBTT Press Releases and Media Coverage can be found within the Media Centre pages of our website: https://www.nasbtt.org.uk/media-centre/

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