Commenting on the progress of the Early Career Framework announced by the Department for Education, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“We are pleased that the Education Secretary is taking seriously the recruitment and retention crisis in teaching. One need only look at this week’s Teacher Workforce statistics from his own department, to see that teachers are leaving at an alarming rate: 40% of these are aged under 35, a 10% rise since 2011. Just as concerning is that almost a third of teachers (32.3%) leave within five years of qualifying – a record high.
“The status quo is clearly not working, and the reasons behind this exodus are self-evident. There is too much excessive and unnecessary workload, pay is diminishing in real terms, and a punitive and unreliable accountability system overshadows everything.
“The recruitment and retention crisis will certainly not disappear overnight, but what this new initiative could represent is a space where the optimism and enthusiasm of new teachers isn’t so quickly extinguished.
“It is right that the Early Career Framework is piloted and properly evaluated. The devil is always in the detail, however. As we have always said it must be properly funded, otherwise it will not work. Reduced timetables will give breathing space for development, but we question the likely availability of ‘mentoring’ in a culture where heavy workload and long hours are the norm.
“This is a step in the right direction. We will keep a close eye on the development of this Framework, as well as future teacher censuses, to monitor whether this truly improves the lives of new teachers. But the teaching profession cannot wait for the next raft of statistics, and Damian Hinds would do well to consider the more immediate changes he can make right now to alleviate the needless burdens placed on all teachers.”
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