This motion updates policy on the teacher shortage crisis in light of recent government announcements on pay rises and new research published by the Education Policy Institute. It builds on existing policy as set out in policy paper 128, Every Child Empowered (March 2018).
Conference notes with concern:
- Research by the Education Policy Institute, published on 30th August, which highlights the severe teacher shortages in the 2018-19 academic year.
- That the report highlights growing class sizes and an increase in the number of subjects being taught by teachers without a relevant degree.
- That schools are seeing serious numbers of teachers resigning with many teachers only staying in the profession for a few years, and are having difficulty in recruiting enough teachers to fill essential posts.
- That teachers’ pay is falling behind that of other graduate professions.
- That the funding announced by the Government on 24th July for a pay rise for teachers is insufficient, and ignores many of the recommendations of the School Teachers’ Review Body.
- That the Government have rejected calls to allow an equivalent pay rise for staff in Colleges.
- That the school funding crisis is far from being resolved, with schools £2bn worse off compared with two years ago, and that the Institute for Fiscal Studies recently published an analysis which showed the money per pupil fell by 8% in England and 5% in Wales between 2009/10 and 2017/18.
Conference believes that:
- The teacher shortage crisis has been fuelled by a combination of pay cuts, rising workloads and stress levels.
- Stress levels among teachers are far too high and that it is a contributing factor for many who decide to leave the profession.
- Pressure on school budgets also contributes to pressure on teachers, as headteachers worry about how they will make ends meet, and workloads increase still further due to reductions in support staff.
- The pressure on teachers and growing workloads are largely due to a damaging culture of highstakes assessments and inspections in our schools.
- More must be done to attract teachers to the education profession from maths, science and other fields where there are particular shortages of teachers.
Conference calls on the Government to:
- Allocate new money to fund the recommendations of the School Teachers’ Review Body in full, using additional funding from the Treasury, rather than from already over-stretched school budgets, as full funding is the only way to ensure that a pay rise (welcome though it is) does not result in redundancies and an increase in stress and workload, thereby increasing the harm done to schools and our education system.
- Provide colleges with additional funding so that they can provide a pay rise to their teaching staff that is equal to the pay rise for school teachers.
- Invest to close the gap in school budgets, meaning that no school receives a real-terms per pupil budget cut in the next year.
- Introduce a clear and properly funded entitlement to genuinely high-quality professional development for all teachers – 25 hours per year by 2020, rising to the OECD average of 50 hours by 2025; this should include specific additional training for teachers who are required to teach subjects that they are not trained in.
- Implement reforms to school inspections and assessments, as set out in policy paper 128, Every Child Empowered, to reduce the stress they place on both teachers and pupils.