Commenting on the latest Government statistics on teacher training, Nansi Ellis, assistant general secretary at the National Education Union, said:
“Teaching is a demanding but incredibly rewarding profession. During the pandemic, more and more people have come to appreciate the important work that teachers do, and the huge increase in applications to initial teacher training for September is a welcome reflection of this. These increases are desperately needed, because the Government does not yet seem to have stemmed the flow of teachers leaving the profession.
“Government needs to do more for those teachers who completed their training during the period of school closures. Those who have found jobs are likely to need increased support during this next year, as they missed out on supported teaching experience during the summer term. But our newly qualified teacher members tell us they are struggling to find work for September, and too many are already seriously considering other jobs to pay the bills. Losing these teachers will be a significant cost to the taxpayer, which is why the NEU is calling on Government to follow the example of Scotland by centrally employing newly qualified teachers from this September, so that the needs of schools are met and talent is not wasted.
“Teachers, head teachers and school staff have worked hard throughout this pandemic, but their morale has been rocked by the Government's performance and apparent disregard for their safety. This is a view widely felt. A recent TES poll shows 85% believe the Government is not doing enough to support them and have been made to feel 'vilified' and 'demonised'.
“If Boris Johnson truly wants to 'build back better' then he must address the concerns of the teaching profession. Pay has remained below inflation, and the recent increase is not only inadequate but likely to be the last for some time. High workload and poor wellbeing continue to drive teachers from the profession. Until Government addresses the key drivers of workload, including the-high stakes accountability system which means teachers and pupils are driven to perform in tests rather than deepen their learning, then the numbers of those leaving teaching will continue to outstrip the numbers of those joining.”