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Investing in an outstanding workforce in further education

a teacher holding a paper he is marking, and looking quite happy with himself about it

Today’s Education in the Media blog focuses on a new package of support to help recruitment and retention of the best teachers for the further education sector, while we also look at school uniforms and pupil peer support.

Further Education Workforce

Today, Wednesday 5 February, we announced a package of support for the further education workforce to help strengthen recruitment and retention within the sector. This has been covered by FE Week and FE News.

The package includes £11 million to provide bursaries and grants, worth up to £26,000, to attract talented people to teach in priority subject areas including STEM and English.

It also includes a £10 million expansion of our Taking Teaching Further programme, which supports industry professionals working in key sectors to retrain as FE teachers, and £3 million to develop and deliver high-quality mentoring programmes to support FE teachers to stay in the profession.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

Our ambitions for a world-beating technical education system can only be achieved if we have outstanding teachers who will inspire the next generation.

I’ve seen first-hand just how much brilliant work is already going on up and down the country. I want to thank the many thousands of further education teachers doing fantastic jobs and changing lives.

This investment is a clear signal of the government’s commitment to helping the FE sector to continue to recruit and retain excellent teachers who will help to unlock their students’ full potential.

School Uniform

Today, the Department has said it will back a Private Members’ Bill, which has been put before Parliament to make provision for guidance to schools about the cost aspects of school uniform policies. This was covered by the Mirror.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

School uniforms should always be affordable and should not leave pupils or their families feeling that they cannot apply to a particular school.

That is why we will be supporting the progress of this bill through Parliament, in order to make our guidance on the cost considerations for school uniform statutory at the earliest opportunity.

Peer-to-Peer support

Today, the i newspaper reported that school pupils could be trained to offer peer-to-peer support in schools to help improve mental health.

The article notes that the department ran a trial where mental health experts provided training to 100 pupils on delivering peer support.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

School or college should be a place where pupils feel safe and supported to learn, so it’s encouraging to see the number of schools recognising the value of peer-to- peer mentoring project, where pupils look out for their classmates’ wellbeing through supportive conversations.

Understanding what works will help us improve the support available for every pupil. Studies like these are one of many ways we are promoting wellbeing in schools, including through the introduction of compulsory health education from September, teaching pupils what good mental health looks like and how to seek help when needed.

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