Education recruitment specialist echoes Ofsted Chiefs views on peer support
In a speech to the recent North of England education conference, Sir Michael Wilshaw said that newly qualified teachers were quitting the profession because of an inability to cope with unruly pupils and because they are being mentored by people with little up-to-date school experience.
Darryl Mydat, managing director of specialist education recruitment company TLTP Education (The London Teaching Pool), recognises some of the concerns expressed by Wilshaw in his everyday work.
“We know from our own recent Barometer of the Teaching industry that pupil behaviour is a major issue affecting the confidence of teachers and their desire to continue in the profession. Over quarter of teachers that we surveyed told us that pupil behaviour was one of their biggest challenges whilst 65% told us they had either been verbally abused in school or knew a colleague who had been. This is an area that needs to be gripped.”
Mydat also agrees with Wilshaw’s comments that it is “a national scandal” that so much is invested in teacher training and yet an estimated 40% of new teachers leave the profession within five years.
“We are in a difficult cycle at the moment,” Mydat says. “Many experienced teachers are leaving the profession for all sorts of reasons and many schools are looking to replace them with NQTs, because they obviously represent a cost saving to the school. But if you are losing experienced teachers at one end of the scale and not retaining the news ones at the other end, then we are stacking up major problems not just for today but also for the foreseeable future.”
The solution, Mydat says, is to make it more attractive for experienced teachers to stay, easier for experienced teachers to return and entrust the training of new teachers to those who know what it’s like to work at the coal face of the school environment.
“We are not going to change factors like pupil behaviour overnight and even issues like workload and stress will take time and commitment from above to work through. However, teachers can be given access to greater support within school and more widely within the profession to give them guidance and better coping mechanisms so they don’t feel so isolated in their jobs.”
Mydat also echoes comments made by Wilshaw expressing frustration that teachers are portrayed as victims who have little control or say over their own professional lives.
"We agree with Sir Michael’s view that more should be done to celebrate the teaching profession and do our best efforts to elevate the profession. One of the reasons we are supporting Pride In Teaching Day on March 27th is to help promote the great work teachers are doing every day.”