Your at-a-glance guide to major new government policy on teacher development, recruitment and retention. We describe key new pieces of funding, new frameworks and standards and how this will impact your school(s) and staff.

Early Career Framework, Recruitment and Retention

Today (28th January 2019), the Department for Education (DfE) has published new strategies and policies to support teacher recruitment and retention, and launch of the early career framework. This long awaited strategy has had sector-wide support from education bodies, charities and hundreds of teachers that have all contributed in the development of the strategy.

What do you need to know? Here’s the headlines at a glance:

  1. Culture: DfE will simplify pressures and accountability by removing floor and coasting standards and making a “Requires Improvement” judgement from Ofsted the single criteria for accessing support, with more intensive support available for schools who have been judged R.I. for a second time. Ofsted is also consulting on significantly increasing the focus on workload within schools and removing the incentives to create ‘audit cultures’. DfE will create stability by promising no further reform to curriculum, assessment including KS2 SATs, GCSEs and A-Levels. DfE is investing in support to improve pupil behaviour, with a big focus in the new Early Career Framework (see below), new Behaviour Hubs and an increased focus on behaviour in the new Ofsted draft framework. Finally, DfE is (re)-announcing more support for specialist children and young people’s mental health support and has also announced the roll-out of its nationwide teacher vacancy service to help schools improve recruitment and reduce costs for this.
  2. Early Career Support: DfE are providing funding to extend the support for early career teachers from one year to two years, including funding for schools to reduce timetables, to release and better-train mentors and funding and support for SLT who lead on CPD and Teaching and Learning in order to create a supportive environment. DfE has also published a new Early Career Framework – an evidence-informed list of things that early career teachers should be supported to know and do in their first few years after Initial Teacher Training. I’m pleased to say that TDT has played a key advisory role in the creation of this document and the strategy around it. This document will be rolled out in the North-East, Bradford, Doncaster and Greater Manchester from September 2020 and the rest of the country from September 2021. Alongside this, DfE has commissioned a number of schools to produce free curriculum materials for pupils and teachers at KS2 and KS3.
  3. Retention and Careers: DfE is promising to develop new specialist qualifications that provide an alternative to leadership and management career routes, with specialist pathways in Teacher Development (which will be the first one developed) as well as assessment, behaviour and subject-specific and curriculum expertise. DfE is promising to ensure that schools can spend their Apprenticeship Levy funds to resource these. This is complemented by plans to create new incentives for teachers to spend more of their careers in more challenging schools, and these schools will have access to significant funds to ensure that schools in the most disadvantaged areas are the most attractive institutions in which to develop. DfE will also be developing significant new guidance and support to ensure that schools can offer more flexible and part-time working.
  4. Recruitment: DfE is simplifying the process of becoming a teacher, with a single point of access to help teachers find the right route for them and a Discover Teaching programme to encourage people to do ‘tasters’ in schools to (hopefully) whet their appetites to change career. This is accompanied by the provision of more advisers for those considering teaching and more funding for career changers and returners to teaching. DfE is also looking to change the status of more teaching specialisms to list them as ‘Shortage Occupations’ from an immigration point of view. DfE is also encouraging more innovation around creating local and regional recruitment partnerships, building on the work of partners such as Sheffield Hallam’s work in South Yorkshire and Canterbury Christchurch’s work in Kent.

What’s still to come?

  • DfE has asked the CPD Expert Group to reconvene to explore how to help all schools improve the provision of professional development to all staff (not just for early career teachers) – I am pleased to continue Chairing this and we look forward to publishing more information in the next few months.

What do you need to do now?

Overall, this feels like one of the most significant policy announcements from the DfE for some time. I would encourage every school to download and review the new Early Career Framework and start using this document to reflect on the pedagogical support provided for all teachers, not only in their early career.

I would also like to encourage subject-specific organisations and associations as well as those focused on particular phases and ages, to take the document and map it to their own subject and phase areas, giving examples of how each general pedagogic practice could be used, developed and understood within each context. It would also be a great opportunity to identify which other pedagogical and content-knowledge principles they feel are particularly important to develop.

The above offers, of course, are focused mainly on teachers and schools should not lose sight of the other half of their workforce. UNISON will soon be updating their truly excellent SkillsForSchools website which lists development pathways and opportunities for all those in schools who are not teachers.

I would also encourage schools to reflect on how they are leading and resourcing development within their own schools, perhaps using TDT’s free CPD Spend benchmarking tool and reviewing current climate, leadership and practice around the improvement of Teaching, Learning and CPD through our CPD Audit service.