Writing today for The Times Redbox blog Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education Lucy Powell MP warns that the Troops for Teachers failure points to wider problems with teacher recruitment and retention.
We should be celebrating our armed forces personnel particularly those that, after a period of service keeping our country safe from harm, turn to teaching the next generation and moving their experience to the classroom.
To great fanfare, the 2010 Tory manifesto proclaimed a plan to get troops leaving the armed services into the classroom. David Cameron has personally championed the scheme. Troops to Teachers is a laudable initiative and one I very much support. I want to see more veterans re-training to become teachers as they have a huge amount to offer and we desperately need more good teachers.
However, two years ago Labour warned the Prime Minister that the scheme was in danger and he gave MPs personal assurances that he would make sure it was working. In fact the opposite is true. The Tories half-hearted approach to the scheme means that only 28 veterans qualified to teach in the last Parliament. On top of this applications have fallen almost 80 per-cent over the three cohorts of the programme.
This failure is symptomatic of a wider issue with this Government – making announcements and talking big to gain headlines but then failing to deliver when the spotlight moves on. The news earlier this week about the marriage tax break flop is another such example.Read more
Unless the Government recognises the challenges the teacher shortage crisis is only going to get worse
Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commenting on warnings from a number of teaching and school leader unions about a national crisis in teacher numbers, said:
“Unless the Government recognises the challenges facing teacher recruitment and retention the teacher shortage crisis is only going to get worse, threatening standards and putting more pressure on schools budgets as school leaders turn to supply agencies to fill the gaps.”
"Whilst ministers continue to bury their heads in the sand over teacher shortages, we are seeing more and more evidence that this serious issue is threatening standards."
"despite the fact that half of all schools had unfilled positions at the start of this academic year and some pupils are now having to travel to other schools for their maths and English lessons".
6th January 2016- Teacher Shortage means Pupils Travel to Other School
Nothing is doing more damage to maths education in this country than the Government’s failure to recruit enough good maths teachers
Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commenting on the government announcement about times tables, said:
“Nothing is doing more damage to maths education in this country than the Government’s failure to recruit enough good maths teachers. Ministers have created chronic shortages of teachers up and down the country, particularly in key subjects such as English and maths. This is risking standards in our schools, and holding back both our young people and Britain’s future success.
"Times tables have long been a core part of excellent numeracy in our primary schools, and of testing. This announcement smacks of a government which has run out of ideas for educational improvement."
This is desperate stuff from a Government that is storing up huge problems for our schools with their failure on teacher recruitment and retention
Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commenting on teacher shortages, said:
“This is desperate stuff from a Government that is storing up huge problems for our schools with their failure on teacher recruitment and retention. Whilst half of all schools had unfilled positions at the start of this year, it is obvious to both parents and school leaders that the situation is extremely serious, and yet Ministers are now trying to pull the wool over peoples’ eyes. All the while, standards are being threatened as schools are forced to turn to unqualified staff, temporary supply teachers, non-specialists, and larger class sizes to cope with the chronic shortages in the profession.
“Ensuring that there are enough excellent teachers in our schools is fundamental to ensuring that all children get a great education. The Government’s failure on this extremely basic issue is risking the education of our young people.”
School spending on supply teachers soars to £1.3bn – a rise of more than a quarter over two years – as heads try to plug gaps in recruitment crisis
As schools prepare to break up for the Christmas holidays, new analysis by the Labour Party reveals the impact of the chronic shortages of teachers up and down the country:
· New official figures published this week reveal that the amount spent on supply teachers by schools continues to soar. The average spend by academies and Free Schools alone has risen by 42 per cent in one year.
· New analysis shows that the overall spend by schools on supply teachers has rocketed by nearly £300 million over two years – a rise of more than one quarter – and now stands at £1.3 billion.
· This significant increase in the cost of supply teachers is a result of schools trying to plug the gaps caused by the Tories’ failure to recruit enough trainee teachers – this year the Government missed their target for teacher recruitment for the fourth year in a row.
· At the same time, record numbers of teachers are quitting the profession – 50,000 this year, more than actually entered the profession.
Shadow Education Secretary, Lucy Powell MP, said:
“With chronic shortages of teachers in our schools, this Government is risking the education of the next generation. Ministers have mishandled teacher training, putting applicants off and constantly talked down the profession, causing thousands of teachers to quit. As a result, half of all schools had unfilled positions at the start of this year and are being forced to turn to unqualified staff, temporary supply teachers, non-specialists, and larger class sizes to try to plug the gaps.
“Nothing is more important for raising standards and improving social mobility than ensuring there are excellent teachers in every school. The Government urgently needs to get a grip on this problem, which is affecting the education of our children, and start to take it seriously.”
Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, commenting on Ofsted’s Annual Report, said:
“The Government is failing to challenge the regional divide in school standards, so children in the North and Midlands are again being left behind. Whilst there are many examples of great practice in our schools system, too many children are still not receiving a good enough education. At the same time, the Tories are creating chronic shortages of teachers up and down the country, threatening standards as schools are forced to plug gaps with unqualified staff and larger class sizes.
“Britain’s future success depends upon making sure every child has an excellent education and that every young person has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. This report is yet more evidence that the Government’s narrow and backward-looking education policies are simply not up to that task.”
Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, responding to the TES teacher recruitment report, said:
“This report is a damning verdict on the Tories’ record on teacher recruitment and retention in this country. Half of all schools had unfilled positions at the start of this year, and standards are being threatened as they are forced to turn to unqualified staff, temporary supply teachers, non-specialists, and larger class sizes to cope with the chronic shortages in the profession. All the while, the Government continues to botch teacher recruitment, missing its own targets year on year, and storing up further trouble for our schools.
“There is nothing more fundamental to a good education than having enough excellent teachers in our schools. But the Tories’ monumental failure on this route one, basic issue is damaging the education of the next generation.”