TDT welcomes today’s publication of the Education Select Committee report on teacher recruitment and retention.  Alongside Labour’s announcement yesterday to increase the number of teachers entering the profession, we are glad to see politicians of all political persuasions opening their eyes to the stark reality facing so many schools across the country.  There are too few teachers.  Too many are leaving.  Being a teacher should and can be an amazing job and it is heartbreaking to know that, for so many, the challenges feel ever more insurmountable and they are stepping away.


Of course, pay is an issue and it is good to see the Education Select Committee go into such depth about the issues and possible solutions in this space.  But as we have long known, pay is not the only answer, and there is a point where salary increases, bursaries, and retention payments move beyond the idea of paying teachers a fair salary to do a hard job, and become a sort-of bribe, a payment that says, “We know teaching is not all it should be so here is a bung to ask you to stay despite the problems.”


Increasing pay is necessary but not sufficient, nor a silver-bullet solution to deeper challenges, which is why we are also pleased to see a range of broader recommendations.  It is good that the Select Committee has recognised the importance of investing in professional development, praising the introduction of the ECF (whilst acknowledging areas for improvement – something we have written about), and that the Committee has asked for full funding for NPQs to be restored.  We believe that is an important part of a wider need to invest in the professional development of teachers as a key part of valuing the profession, and again we welcome Labour’s thinking in this space around an entitlement to CPD.  The findings from the Select Committee report highlight the short-sighted nature of decisions to cut funding for NPQs and Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) programmes when such investments are needed more than ever.


We also commend the Education Select Committee for the broader view it has taken of the issues around recruitment and retention.  Challenges around flexibility, workload, and behaviour need to be addressed if teaching is to be seen as an attractive profession.  It is important that the wider pressures that schools and teachers face have been acknowledged too, with support for SEND, and pupil and teacher mental health and wellbeing, essential to create the conditions for teachers and school leaders to be able to do what they can do and nobody else can – teach our children.