• Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

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Leading the way in attracting and retaining our teachers

The Department for Education has published their much-awaited Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy in response to concerns over workloads.

Dr Lynne McKenna, Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society at the University of Sunderland, has been playing a key role in creating a new model in teacher training.

Around five years ago, a looming teacher recruitment crisis was identified and calls began for the issue to be addressed.

This week, the Department for Education (DfE) published their strategy in a bid to push towards solving the problem.

The Strategy set out four key priorities:

  • Helping school leaders to establish more supportive school cultures and reduce workload
  • Transforming support for early career teachers
  • Making sure teaching remains an attractive career as lifestyles and aspirations change
  • Making it easier for the right people to become a teacher

As part of the MillionPlus Deans of Education Network, the University of Sunderland’s Dr Lynne McKenna, has been closely involved with the development of Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) reforms.

As part of an expert working group, Dr Mckenna has helped to propose a new model for Teacher Training which closely links the Early Career Framework to Masters level study and qualifications.

This work has been presented to the DfE, to the All -Party Parliamentary Group for the Future of the Teaching Profession and at International conferences in Portugal and Barcelona.

Dr McKenna said: “Universities are key players in teacher education provision. In fact, 62% of initial teacher training students study at a modern university.

“The expertise in terms of training teachers has always been a partnership between the training provider and the partnership schools in the North East and the University of Sunderland is particularly proud of its partnership. We are extremely proud that we have been training teachers in the region for over 100 years.

“The benefits of teachers engaging in Masters level study has been the subject of an aspirational approach to raising the status of the teaching profession for many years now. Undoubtedly, teaching as a masters led profession would help to recruit and retain teachers and would raise the status of the profession.”

Central to the strategy is the need to provide further support for early career teachers and ensuring that all those in the profession have greater access to Continuing Professional Development.

The publication of the Early Career Framework has been designed to support early career teacher development.

Dr McKenna said: “We know that the three main reasons cited by teachers leaving the profession are around workload issues, lack of mentor support in the first few years of teaching and lack of Continuing Professional Development opportunities.”

“To support this, the DfE has announced its commitment to funding and guaranteeing 10% off timetable in the early years of teaching and continuing this with a 5% off timetable in the second year.

“Alongside this, the Department has outlined their intention to fund time for mentors to support early career teachers and to fully fund mentor training.

“These measures are crucially important to enable the profession to encourage people to become teachers, to enable us to hold on to the hard working and committed teachers already working in the profession and to raise the status of teaching as a profession”

The University of Sunderland has been leading the way in developing a suite of Continuing Professional Development modules and programmes which address the needs of early career teachers.

The institution has developed an early career framework in response to the needs identified by its partner schools in the North East.

The University’s packages include:

  • NQT and Early Career Teacher
  • Mentoring and Coaching
  • Leadership and Management
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing

Dr McKenna added: “All of these measures designed to support and develop early career teachers could potentially change the teacher training landscape and be truly transformational.”

The Education Secretary said he believes teachers work “too many hours”. Damian Hinds set out his measures after data from a National Association of Headteachers survey suggests that 77% of its school leaders found recruitment a struggle last year.

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