Teachers are to be offered cash and job-share incentives in a bid to encourage them to stick with their jobs, part of British education secretary’s plan to boost the number of teachers in the profession. While sharing a new plan on Monday, Education Secretary Damian Hinds said teachers work “too many hours” and hence should be encouraged with job-related incentives. He said the new measures would attract as well as retain young teachers who currently “carry the burden of unnecessary tasks” as an integral part of their job.
The plan offers numerous cash and work incentives to teachers including a new entitlement to a two-year training package, reduced work pressure and timetable, and backing of at least £130 million a year, as per the official statement of the Department for Education.
The plan will also offer young secondary teachers with a lucrative amount of £5,000 in their third and fifth years in the classroom, along with initial £20,000 training bursaries. These bursaries will be renewed in order to include retention-based payments for teachers who will stay in the teaching profession by giving them additional incentives through the first years of their career.
This cash-centered strategy also includes the introduction of a new one-stop system in order to ease the process of applications for the would-be teachers. Schools would be encouraged to introduce flexible working practices through a new match-making practice particularly for teachers seeking a “job-share”, with additional incentives for teachers who work at challenging schools.
“There’s a lower proportion of both men and women in teaching working part-time than the equivalent proportion in the economy as a whole. For women, it’s 28% in teaching v 40% in the economy as a whole. Why is it? There isn’t a single definitive answer, but I’m confident part of it is cultural,” Hind said while sharing his views with England’s Guardian newspaper.
“This ambitious strategy commits to supporting teachers – particularly those at the start of their career – to focus on what actually matters, the pupils in their classrooms. In a competitive graduate labour market we must continue to ensure that teaching is an attractive profession so we can train and retain the next generation of inspirational teachers,” the secretary added.
This strategy was introduced after data from a National Association of Headteachers survey indicated that 77 percent of school leaders in England considered recruitment a struggle in the previous year. As more and more teachers are opting for other career options in England, this new policy by the government would make schools no longer punishable on grounds of their performance in the national tests or exams.
Headteachers’ union said additional help to young recruits was needed to tackle the decreasing teacher numbers in the country. Currently, teachers in subjects with shortages including Physics, Chemistry, and languages, can receive a bursary of up to £26,000. These schemes have been criticised for spending a lot of taxpayer’s cash, where some subject trainees take one-off tax-free lump sums of up to £26,000 and still leave the jobs after a few years.
Labour criticised the plan, saying it will fail to reverse “six consecutive years” of missed teacher recruitment targets. The government has previously been criticised for failing to get a grip on the problem or even in acknowledging its impact on schools. Even after the 2015 election, the school’s minister Nick Gibb insisted there was no teacher recruitment crisis, despite strong anecdotal evidence from head teachers.