The Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy and Supply

The Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy and Supply

Recruiting teachers, then getting them to stay in teaching, has become a serious problem.

For a while the retention crisis didn’t get as much attention as deserved. Now the penny has dropped and a government response published: the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy.

The 4 key points

  1. More supportive schools - schools are increasingly “accountable” for their success. This has led some schools and school leaders to place lots of pressure on their staff, burdening them with heavy workloads. The Department for Education is currently trying to simplify school accountability so it’s very clear what schools should and shouldn’t be focusing on. Working with Ofsted, the DfE is trying to reduce workload through removing unnecessary admin tasks and schools’ fixation with data (see our previous article on this). The idea is to create a more pleasant workplace.

  2. Greater focus for teachers new to the job - many teachers fresh to the profession are leaving. To stop this, the DfE is introducing the Early Careers Framework. This will be a funded package which will see new teachers have reduced timetables, additional financial support and dedicated mentoring.

  3. Flexible teaching and new qualifications - Something which many teachers dislike about the job is its inflexibility. The DfE is exploring options to try to make teaching as flexible as is possible. These ideas include encouraging job sharing and creating a new timetabling tools for schools. The DfE is also going to increase scope for professional development for classroom teachers, with new qualifications to support the CPD.

  4. Making routes into teaching more straightforward - with so many different ways to become a teacher, the government wants to simplify the process. They are introducing a “one-stop” route to initial teacher training, with new initiatives to get more people into the classroom.

What could this mean for supply teachers?

  • Possibly a kinder working environment. There is going to be less stress on internal assessments, a reduction in teaching-to-the-test and maybe less planning and marking.

  • Possibly fewer long term roles. If teachers have increased flexibility and greater freedom internally, schools might have better capacity to cover internally.

  • Possibly fewer supply teachers. One of the main reasons that teachers turn to supply is that it brings flexibility. If flexibility can be achieved through working with one, or even a small group of schools, then teachers may consider flexiteaching instead of supply.

  • Possibly more fully qualified teachers. If the route is easier, better funded and teaching is well publicised, then there is the real possibility that more people will pick teaching.


So the strategy could bring some changes. But this is just a strategy, implementation is a different matter. And all these changes will take some years to come in to play.