The teacher shortage has a negative impact on learning, making it a major problem for schools. With a Teacher recruitment and retention strategy, the Department of Education has intervened.
The Department of Education allocated a 15 million pounds budget for digital transformation. Why? Several polls have revealed that teachers are considering leaving their jobs. For example, in April 2022, 44% of teachers polled are considering resigning in the next five years, with 8% quitting in the 2021/22 timeframe. On top of the stress, schools are under from the increasing number of students, few resources, and a budget decrease. What triggered the massive migration? What is the solution?
Reasons for the Teacher Shortage
The first issue that has forced teachers to leave is an excessive workload. The amount of time spent marking homework and assignments, as well as the administrative paperwork, drains most teachers, forcing many to leave the field.
Full-time teachers are working between 49.3 to 53 hours which is too high. Furthermore, the number of work hours leaves many people with the impression that the task is unmanageable. I teach three science disciplines, and I have encountered this challenge too. Most of the time, I struggle with balancing many topics and assignments all at the same time. Weariness and mental pressure experienced makes quitting seem a decent choice.
The other problem is difficulty with school cultures ingrained in the school system, for example, where rules apply to some and not all teachers and unclear expectations. Therefore, putting teachers in a bind between making school a pleasant place to work and a great place to study. Further, there are challenges with accountability difficulties and challenging student behavior that makes the job unpleasant, resulting in teachers quitting.
Finally, teacher retention is becoming increasingly difficult. There is an increased number of teachers abandoning the field. The application procedure to become a teacher is complex and time-consuming. Hence, this explains why teacher supply can not keep up with rising pupil numbers, with 10% of instructors departing. This difficulty is being recognized primarily by early career teachers who consider the expectations and pressure too much for them. More than 20% of new teachers leave teaching during the first two years, and 33% depart within the first five years. (Page 10) Strategy for teacher recruitment and retention. Many teachers quit for jobs that pay less but provide a better work-life balance! So, how can teachers be helped?
The Suggested Solution
The Department for Education (DfE) has developed a teacher recruitment and retention strategy that focuses on boosting teacher retention while enticing new teachers to join. They have included digital services and data platforms to aid application prospective teachers. Let us concentrate on four of them.
Reduced timetable. Early career teachers have been funded and guaranteed 5% off their second year of teaching. Upon implementation, the reduction increased to 10% of the original timeframe. In turn, new teachers gain more time to focus on adjusting and adapting to the workload. Additional online tools for recruiting are in place. Such as a one-stop application system for basic teacher training to attract new teachers to join.
Mentorship and development. Since teaching is a demanding profession, there is a fully funded mentor training program under the Early Career Framework. Split into two years, the first for studying and the second for teaching with the assistance of a mentor, usually an experienced teacher. Mentors help new instructors learn how to use the tools they have to fulfill the requirements of the curriculum. As a result, teachers’ lesson planning skills improve, and they develop confidence in front of the classroom. This program began in April 2022.
Help with the curriculum. High-quality free curriculum and training resources are available. There are new digital tools for training, such as postgraduate professional qualifications. There are presently measures to promote exposure to valuable resources in the classroom, such as Discover teaching initiatives. There are also phased bursaries with staggered retention payments, with lump sums for teachers who work in more demanding schools. As a result, good teachers stay in the schools that require them the most.
Material Assistance. As previously stated, digital technologies for continual training are available. Qualified instructors get assisted in obtaining jobs through Job share programs (Beta version out on gov.uk teaching vacancies). Some digital tools are data tracking systems, clear proof of class preparation and grading, child objectives, and prediction to minimize teacher burden. For instance, a digital application with real-time evaluation in class based on pre-installed lesson plans in the program.
The DfE is making a career in teaching more attractive, sustainable, and rewarding. The final vision is that young people have access to world-class education no matter where they are from because there are no great schools without great teachers.