How should Damian Hinds tackle education issues?
Emma Hollis, Executive Director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers, welcomes the appointment of Damian Hinds as new Education Secretary and has some thoughts on how he should proceed.
Emma said, “We congratulate Damian Hinds on his appointment as Secretary of State for Education and look forward to working with him in his new role. As a Minister with prior experience of the education sector, including sitting on the Education Select Committee, we are confident that Mr Hinds will have an existing awareness of the ‘on the ground’ issues and challenges facing schools and a passion for the teaching profession.
“At the same time, we would also like to thank Justine Greening for her immense contribution over the past 18 months, during which she has worked closely and collaboratively with the teaching profession. Ms Greening has set in place a series of progressive initiatives, not least the current and ongoing QTS consultation, which will undoubtedly make the profession even stronger.
"What we are now seeking from the Department for Education is continuity, rather than any further major changes to education policy.
“A major priority for Mr Hinds will undoubtedly be addressing the fall in teacher training applications, with numbers going down from 19,330 in December 2016 to 12,820 in 2017. From our perspective, we are keen to ensure that the value of SCITTs in developing the quality teachers of the future continues to be recognised and rewarded. However, we are also supportive of a simplification of the teacher training system and encourage greater partnership working. For example, we would look to the outcome of the current QTS consultation to strengthen scope for collaboration between schools, SCITTs and universities in planning and delivering teachers’ early career professional development.
How can he tackle the teacher shortage in education?
“We also need to acknowledge that the drop in teacher training applications is a complex issue and, in part, relates to difficulties retaining teachers through the early to middle years of their career. More generally, perceptions of the teaching profession are at an all-time low – there is a negative reputation of what it is actually like to be a teacher. Plummeting morale, pay and budgetary restraints, stress and challenging working conditions are all having an impact on teachers; many are being driven out of the profession, and now we are seeing fewer are choosing to enter it in the first place. This needs to change and we look forward to working collaboratively with Mr Hinds through the QTS consultation to establish a career path that better rewards those who remain in front-line teaching.
“Whilst there are mitigating factors, including fewer graduates to enter the profession in the first place and statistics which evidence that for every 1% increase in the UK economy there is a 4% decrease in applications to teacher training, we wish to support the Department in restoring a sense of trust and excitement in being a teacher.”