Flexible working will not stem teacher supply crisis, says TLTP Education
TLTP Education (The London Teaching Pool) has cast doubt on a suggestion that the teacher supply crisis in England could be stemmed if more schools allowed flexible working.
A recent report from The Think Tank Policy Exchange argued that allowing more teachers to work part time could bring thousands of teachers back into the profession. The report outlines that of the 45,000 to 50,000 teachers joining the state sector each year, only a third are returning teachers.
Darryl Mydat, managing director of TLTP Education disagrees, however, saying that he does not see how this would improve the current teacher shortage, advocating instead removing the Government’s Tier 2 caps for qualified teachers.
Mydat explained, “Flexible working would assist teachers in PPA cover for the odd hour and possibly provide booster classes for children struggling in certain areas.
“However, we believe that children and teachers require continuity. Children respond better and build better relationships with educators with whom they have regular contact. They are also more likely to confide in teachers offering continuity with regards to situations at home and possible child protection issues. Teachers, for their part, want continuity for career progression and experience.
“The Government lifting Tier 2 visa caps for qualified teachers would have a more immediate impact.
“Also, if you offer to pay teachers’ university fees once they have completed three years as a qualified teacher in the state system, this would also encourage more people to train. There is also scope for an initiative where teachers contemplating leaving the profession can be offered support and assistance that may lead to them being placed in less challenging environments and therefore continuing in the profession.”
The priority, Mydat argues, is as much to keep existing teachers in the profession as it is to attracting people back. He cites a recent Guardian survey, which found that, in England 43% of state school teachers said they were planning to leave the profession in the next five years. In the same survey, 79% of schools said they are struggling to recruit or retain teachers and 88% predicted things are going to get worse.
Mydat added, “Flexible working may have a role but it will not be a panacea for all ills but the biggest challenge is to do things now that will stop existing teachers from leaving the profession. That means putting curriculum changes on hold, less bureaucracy on recording pupil progress and staff performance, and lessening the burden of written marking to please Ofsted inspectors. If you reduce the burden on the profession, things could turn around quite quickly.”
TLTP Education says it recently introduced a £500 ‘golden hello’ to qualified teachers taking a permanent job at the start of the academic year in September. The company will make the payment to any teacher that it places in either a primary or secondary school teaching job once they have satisfactorily completed their twelve-week probationary period with the school.