ATL comment on Government response to the House of Commons Education Committee’s report on the recruitment and retention of teachers
Commenting on the Government’s response to the House of Commons Education Committee’s report on the recruitment and retention of teachers, Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said:
“While we welcome the Government’s recognition of the importance of teacher retention, workload and continuing professional development, its defensiveness around the scale of the teacher shortage problem continues, showing a failure to engage with one of the biggest issues that schools are currently facing. The Government ignores that less than half of our teachers have over ten years’ teaching experience and the trend of teachers leaving the profession for reasons other than retirement are growing.
“The Government’s ostrich-like denial of teachers’ salaries facing real-term cuts ignores the evidence that years of pay restraint has led to teachers’ pay falling increasingly behind that of other professionals, while the newest postgraduate-qualified teachers also have to struggle with huge student debts. The Government’s assertion that teachers’ pay remains competitive fails to heed the evidence that this just isn’t the case, and the reality that many teachers are struggling financially.
“The Government’s work around teachers’ workload is a start, but until it accepts that its policies have made the situation worse, progress in reducing the current high workload levels will be frustratingly slow.
“There are some good points in the Government’s response, such as increasing options for flexible working. We know that many teachers go part-time to reduce their workload, often in reality working a full week while being paid for far less, but getting their evenings and weekends back.”