Commenting on the announcement of a new system to attract international teachers to work in England, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"We entirely agree with the minister that the expertise that schools can draw upon shouldn't be limited by geographical location. But the Government is driven less by internationalism than by the desperate state of its recruitment and retention policy. The government's aspiration to make England the best place in the world to be a teacher will not be realised through a system in which real levels of pay are falling and workload is intensifying.
"Latest Government figures show the number of newly qualified entrants to the profession is lower than in every year but one since 2012. The number of teachers leaving within their first year has increased to 1 in 8, with almost a quarter of teachers leaving the profession within three years and almost a third within five years. A succession of Conservative governments have continually made England a worse place to teach, and less attractive to teachers with whom we currently have an existing agreement on Qualified Teacher Status. Numbers of overseas teachers awarded QTS have declined by 57% since 2015/16.
“We need to be careful not to deprive other education systems of much needed teachers. The UK has signed up to SDG4 which commits that by 2030, all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning - and progress towards this goal has not only stalled but gone into reverse following the Covid pandemic. "
"This is the latest in a string of announcements which ignore such basic problems in favour of attempts at piecemeal solutions. Without fundamental changes the deep-rooted recruitment and retention problem will continue with the obvious detrimental impact on children and young people's education."