Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at the Public Accounts Committee report about the teaching workforce and the Prime Minister’s visit to China.
Public Account Committee Report
Today, Wednesday 31 January, the Public Accounts Committee has published a report about retraining and developing the teaching workforce. They make a series of recommendations to the department about recruiting and retaining teachers.
Teacher recruitment is extremely important and in September 2017, 32,710 trainees started an Initial Teacher Training course.
We want to do all we can to help schools with recruitment, which is why we are working closely with the higher education sector to ensure they can continue to attract the best and the brightest into the profession. We also have a range of generous bursaries designed to recruit more teachers in important subjects such as maths and physics.
We are creating a free website for schools to publish vacancies to help reduce costs and make it easier for aspiring and current teachers to find new posts.
We are aware that the workload is challenging for many teachers which is why we have a teacher workload action plan. This makes a commitment for targeted support to tackle excessive workload where it is most needed, and will include specific support for teachers in the early part of their careers.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
There are now a record number of teachers in our schools – 15,500 more than in 2010 – and last year, despite a competitive labour market with historic low unemployment rates and a growing economy, 32,000 trainee teachers were recruited. Retention rates have been broadly stable for the past 20 years, and the teaching profession continues to be an attractive career.
We want to continue to help schools recruit and retain the best teachers. We are consulting on proposals to improve and increase development opportunities for teachers across the country and working with teachers, unions and Ofsted to tackle unnecessary workload with specific support for teachers at the start of their careers. Alongside this we continue to offer financial incentives to attract the brightest and best into our classrooms.
Prime Minister's trip to China
Today, Wednesday 31 January, the Prime Minister announced new details for the education partnership between UK and China.
The announcement included:
- Extending the Shanghai Maths Teacher Exchange primary school programme for a further two years to 2020; this will enable an additional 140 primary teachers in England to benefit from further training in China. We will also expand the exchange programme to include up to 45 teachers in English secondary schools. The exchange programme also supports our work to take the total number of English schools benefitting from the East-Asian style maths teaching for Mastery programme to 11,000 by 2023;
- Joint training of pre-school staff in the UK and in China;
- Improving UK-China information-sharing on vocational education through more study exchanges;
- Launching a new “English is GREAT” campaign in China, promoting proficiency in English as a transformative skill for individuals and a key economic driver.
The Prime Minister also welcomed a major new package of commercial deliverables in the education sector – reinforcing the UK’s position as a global leader in this field. Education deals totaling more than £550m will create over 800 jobs in the UK.
They include a £75m export win for the UK’s biggest childcare provider Busy Bees, who will open 20 new nurseries across China along with their Chinese stakeholder, Oriental Cambridge Education Group.
Minister Gibb was interviewed this morning discussing these announcements on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News and LBC Radio.
Minister Gibb talked about the successful maths teacher exchange we have had with China since 2014 – improving maths teaching in primary schools, and that the Prime minister’s announcement was an extension of that.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
Standards are rising in our schools, with 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010 and nine out of ten schools given this rating at their last inspection. We want to build on this success, to ensure all pupils can access a world-class education that inspires them to make the most of their lives, no matter where they live or their background.
“Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world, so this partnership will play a crucial role in teaching pupils the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in an increasingly global economy. By opening up these opportunities to more young people, we can help to build a Britain that is fit for the future.
Read more about the Prime Minister’s new approach to UK-China education here