Commons Education Select Committee Supply of Teachers Inquiry

Published 8th June 2016

On Wednesday 8th June, Andy Mitchell (Deputy CEO) was called as an expert witness to give evidence to the Education Select who are considering the relationship between CPD and the recruitment and retention of teachers as part of their inquiry into the supply of teachers. He was one of a panel of 5 giving evidence.

A video of the committee proceedings is now live and covers the above and the responses from a second panel that discusses data used by the Government to assess recruitment, retention and quality of teachers, exploring the Teacher Supply Model as well as sources and responsibilities for collecting and managing the relevant data.

During the session he made a number of points relating to the chronic shortage of D&T teachers and the failure of the current teacher education model to both provide adequate and effective initial teacher education followed by high quality CPD. 

As he and others stated, the majority of CPD that teachers do undertake is reactive to Government initiatives and is short term. It is also focused on generic issues – valuable in its own right but the need for subject led provision is paramount, particularly for D&T.   He made reference to the responses to our recent D&T Annual Survey of Provision which indicated that not only was 70% of the CPD generic, when asked to indicate what teacher’s top 5 priority areas for D&T professional development were, the top 3 were to do with planning and assessment, improving examination results and planning KS3 curriculum.  The areas we know that are in desperate need of development are those associated with new technologies and use of for example, programmable components into the products students design and manufacture.

Andy was also keen to point out that teachers should be given both the entitlement and also the responsibility for their own professional development as is the case in some countries. CPD is not something that is done to teachers, rather it is something in which they participate, usually with others with similar needs and interests. Education is a social activity.  If this became an expectation, supported by a CPD framework that covered the period of a teacher’s career, then it would be possible to build sustained models of provision accompanied by quality assurance systems and accreditation.  This itself would build confidence in the profession, secure in the belief that they were valued and seen to be worth investing in.

There was a general feeling afterwards that the session was very valuable and provided the committee with useful information that will contribute to the inquiry. It is likely to be some weeks before a report will be published and probably not before the autumn.

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