News earlier this year that teachers’ pay has fallen by more than £4,000 a year since 2010 in real terms helps explain why schools regularly miss their recruitment targets.
While a submission from the Department of Education to the School Teachers’ Review Body states that: “From 2002-03 to 2017-18, classroom teacher median salaries have seen a drop of 10% and overall teacher median salaries of 11% in real terms.”
With education secretary, Damian Hinds signalling that only a 2% increase can be expected for the next academic year, what action can head teachers take not just to find the staff that they need, but also to retain them?
Part of the answer lies in the new Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, developed by the Department of Education in collaboration with teachers and head teachers. The four key recommendations of the report are to:
- Create more supportive school cultures and reduce workloads
- Transform support for early career teachers
- Make sure teaching remains an attractive career as lifestyles and aspirations change
- Make it easier for great people to become teachers
Taken together, these four steps will help to address concerns from educators that teaching is too difficult to enter as a profession, that it is too stressful and bureaucratic, that too much is expected of newly qualified teachers and that working hours and contracts are more inflexible than they are for other professions.
Supporting the strategy
The question that remains is how the strategy will be enacted in practice. Looking at the new early years’ framework, most areas that are highlighted are already covered by the teacher training curriculum, but are hampered by a lack of support, mentoring and an inclusive community.
While frameworks proposed within the strategy do come with support and budget, the danger is that – like many initiatives before them -they will not have the infrastructure to make them successful.
As an EdTech company focused on recruitment and retention, Opogo has worked behind the scenes for several years to address these same issues – and we could not be more delighted that our platform is now in a great position to help support the delivery of the DoE’s strategy.
We will do this by providing a rich, supportive talent management solution for school leaders to tap into, one that can also be used by schools to create their own internal staff platform should they wish. Our online tools and resources help improve the value proposition of education by constantly investing back into our users, assisting our schools when they don’t have the budget to do so.
This extends into support for early career teachers who often feel isolated and thrown in at the deep end for the first few years in the classroom. Through our pioneering new programme TeachGrowth, our goal is to prevent new teachers from falling out of love with teaching – and help schools retain and nurture them along the way.
Our recruitment platform enables schools to tap into the professional education gig economy and find exactly the skills that they need when they need them. Equally, educators seeking a particular work pattern or more flexible working options can search for and secure their ideal opportunities.
We want to celebrate and re-energise the teaching profession, recognising its value to our society and to our economy. We are engaging with international education experts to provide insights and support to our community.
We are committed to the ongoing development of our platform and fully support the DofE’s strategic goals. Together with our community, we can transform the experience of education for everyone, for the better.