Its official! Teacher recruitment and retention issues reported by the Education Select Committee

Published 21st February 2017

The report of the cross-party Education Select Committee was published today, highlighting the government’s failure to take adequate measures to tackle significant teacher shortages in England.  The Government has missed its targets for initial teacher education for the last five years and this year there has been a decrease in the total number of new entrants to postgraduate and undergraduate ITT courses. The shortage was particularly acute in Design and Technology with only 41% of the recruitment target met this year, just 430 trainees starting courses of initial teacher education in September 2017.

The report calls for a long-term plan to recruit more teachers as pupil numbers continue to rise. The Design and Technology Association has long campaigned for this – highlighting the particular shortage of Design and Technology teachers and the impact that new performance measures such as EBacc have had on the subject.

Andy Mitchell, deputy CEO of the Design and Technology Association, gave evidence to the Select Committee and is s quoted in the report making the connection between the need to recruit well and to continue to provide teachers with high quality CPD. Subjects like Design and Technology are dependent on CPD to ensure teachers keep up to date with developments in technology, engineering and computing. This is critical to providing young people with industry relevant skills and knowledge.

“Subject-specific CPD is not only essential for maintaining subject knowledge, but also for developing it,” he said.  “The problem with graduates entering the profession is that they spend so little time developing subject knowledge.  This is particularly important for teachers who teach subjects outside of their specialism”.

Whilst the Education Select Committee doesn’t have formal legislative powers, it is a powerful lobbying voice, so it is important that one of the biggest issues facing the teaching profession and, in particular, Design and Technology has been drawn to attention publicly.

This report comes hot on the heels of the Chair of the Education Select Committee, Neil Carmichael’s, comments that the Ebacc should be widened to include more technical subjects like engineering. He stressed the need for greater flexibility to encourage students to study more creative and technical subjects to boost career opportunities for the most disadvantaged and help bridge the UK's growing skills gap.

The Government’s recently announced Industrial Strategy stresses the needs for more comprehensive, high quality technical education. Design and Technology provides an excellent platform for young people to develop an interest and aptitude in higher level technical skills.

We need an integrated strategy from government – one that recognises the connections between pre-16 and post-16 education and invests in well trained and experienced Design and Technology professionals working in schools. 

Read the report from the Education Select Committee on recruitment and retention of teachers.

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