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Education in the media: Friday 4 May 2018

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Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at announcements the Secretary of State made today on making school accountability clearer and giving teachers the chance to take sabbaticals.

Teaching announcements

Today, the Education Secretary made a number of announcements on school accountability, career development and support for teachers.

Secretary of State Damian Hinds set out how the Government will trust school leaders to get on with the job by clarifying who schools are accountable to. This was followed by the announcement of a consultation to simplify the current system.

On top of this, the Secretary of State set out plans to improve early career support and development. The department will be working with school leaders to develop new high-quality training opportunities to boost career progression, to help the record number of teachers in our schools become leaders in their field.

These plans include a £5 million fund for allowing experienced teachers to take a sabbatical.

The announcements received wide-spread coverage, including in The Guardian, The Sun, The Times, The I, Schools Week, the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and on The Today Programme. The idea of giving teachers sabbaticals got particular interest, with the Today Programme holding a debate around whether teachers’ holidays could already be considered sabbaticals.

Secretary of State Damian Hinds said:

All of us have a shared goal of making sure teaching remains an attractive, fulfilling profession.

We will take an unflinching look at the things that discourage people from going into teaching or make them consider leaving… and we will also look at how we support teachers to get better at what they do and hone their expertise and career progression.

We will be introducing an enhanced offer of support for new teachers – including extending the induction period to two years – and we will work with the profession to develop a new early career content framework that will set out all the training and mentoring a teacher is entitled to in those first years.

I want teachers to be able to develop and progress through clearer career pathways, including for those who want to stay in the classroom … and I want schools to be attractive 21st Century workplaces.

General secretary of the NAHT, Paul Whiteman, said:

The announcements the Secretary of State is making today will be widely welcomed by NAHT's members. Accountability is an essential part of our publicly funded education system but it is also one of the main drivers of workload; a big reason why many talented people leave, and often a limiting factor on the ambitions of schools.

It's absolutely right that there should only be one agency with the remit to inspect schools. Clarity about the standards that are expected is just what we've been calling for.

Removing the coasting and floor standards will do much to address the confusion felt by many school leaders. It will be important that the new support standard is set at the right level and helps direct rapid, high-quality, funded support to the schools that need it most.

We have a track record of working with the government on improvements to the system and we look forward to working with them to help define the detail behind these new proposals and to make sure that these joint ambitions are realised.


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