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MP committee report calls for new approach to tackling teacher shortages

24/02/2017 Kelly

A new report compiled by cross-party MPs has recommended that a new focus on training and retention could help to address the current teaching staff shortage.

Analysis from the Education Commons Select Committee has indicated that the current skills shortage is affecting some regions to a greater degree than others, with subjects such as computing, physics and maths most likely to be affected.

In order to address these issues, the committee recommended against any sweeping changes to government policy, while suggesting that any new measures that are introduced are given a long lead-in period to make sure schools are ready to manage the transitions effectively.

The report also called for a renewed emphasis on staff retention and training, as this will help to make the sector more attractive to skilled applicants. The provision of high-quality and relevant continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities was highlighted as a key part of this.

Specifically, the government, Ofsted, schools and teachers have been called upon to make sure any training includes a focus on subject-specific knowledge and skills to allow teachers to continually develop their practice and to create future leaders. Targeted government funding and a central statement of annual entitlement for CPD could aid this.

The role of the College of Teaching in achieving these ends was also emphasised, with teachers urged to take advantage of the new body to get more involved in the development of high-quality CPD opportunities.

Neil Carmichael, chair of the education committee, said: "The government needs to do more to encourage teachers to stay in the profession by raising the status of teachers, improving the opportunities for good-quality training, and by doing all it can to help reduce teacher workload.

"Holding fire on major policy changes and allowing a longer lead-in for government initiatives would allow schools time to focus on subject-specific professional development."

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