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Education in the Media: Thursday 30 August 2018

Today’s Education in the Media blog focuses on the EPI report on the teacher labour market in England, and also looks at how Brexit could positively impact apprenticeships.

EPI Report

Today, Thursday 30 August, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) published a report on England’s teacher labour market. The report focused on challenges facing the teaching sector, and was covered by BBC News, the Independent, the Times, the Sun and the Daily Mail.

In recent years, despite rising pupil numbers, the average primary class size has seen little change, at 27.1. The average secondary class size is 21.2.

In terms of teaching, this generation of teachers is better qualified than ever – 98.7% of all teachers have a degree or even higher qualification. Nearly one in five new teacher trainees had a first-class degree in 2018, up from 10% in 2011.

The Mirror’s job section (p47) provided a great example of this today publishing an interview with teacher Mark Adams, who left university with a maths degree and went into finance before deciding to go into teaching, calling it an “interesting and rewarding” profession.

We want to recruit and retain excellent teachers who are rewarded for all the vital work they do – which is why we recently announced, subject to consultation, a 3.5% increase to the main pay range for classroom teachers. We also announced uplifts of 2% to the upper pay range and 1.5% to the leadership pay range.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

The Education Secretary has been clear that there are no great schools without great teachers and his top priority is to make sure teaching remains an attractive and fulfilling profession. There are still more than 450,000 teachers in our classrooms – 11,900 more than in 2011 – and increasing numbers are returning to the profession.

We recently announced a fully funded pay rise for classroom teachers and we are working with school leaders and unions on a strategy to drive recruitment and boost retention of teachers and strip away unnecessary workload. This is on top of the range of financial incentives we already offer to help attract the brightest and best into our classrooms.


Today, Thursday 30 August, the Financial Times published an article on apprenticeships, suggesting that Britain’s exit from the European Union may boost apprenticeships in the UK.

The piece notes that there is an employer demand for technically skilled young people, and the new apprenticeship programme prepares young people for the working world and allows companies to shape the course to for their needs.

Minister for Apprenticeship and Skills Anne Milton said:

Our reforms to the apprenticeship system are about creating more opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to get the skills they need to succeed, but they are also about making sure those opportunities are high-quality.

Things are moving in the right direction with the number of people starting on our new, higher-quality apprenticeships rising significantly, and we will continue to work with industry to drive up numbers.

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