Last week, the secretary of state for education Damian Hinds MP delivered a speech to school leaders at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) conference in Birmingham. Mr Hinds announced his commitment to develop an overall strategy to tackle teacher recruitment and retention, acknowledging that “employment and retention are difficult for schools – and it is not getting easier”.
The strategy will focus on teacher workload, professional development, career progression and flexible working. On reducing workload, a key aim will be to “strip away the workload that doesn’t add value and give teachers the time and the space to focus on what actually matters”. Citing the pace of policy change, Mr Hinds accepted the government’s role in increasing workload and announced that leaders can expect “no new additional statutory tests or assessment for primary schools, no further changes to the national curriculum and no more reform of GCSEs and A levels”.
Mr Hinds will also look at the accountability system, how it can drive unnecessary workload and will work to clarify the roles of the different actors in the system. Mr Hinds said that “funding is tight, I don’t deny that at all, and I know there have been particular cost pressures as well over the last couple of years”. One of these cost pressures, he said, was the result of staff turnover which he hopes to address in his newly announced recruitment and retention strategy. You can read the full speech here.