Full text of the motion:
- Deeply concerning figures published by UCAS which indicate that the number of graduates beginning teacher training courses has fallen 10 per cent this year, compared to 2016.
- That these figures indicate that recruitment for subjects including maths, physics, biology, computing, chemistry and English will fail to meet government targets.
- That this is part of longer term trends which show that teacher shortages across the country are growing and that almost a third of teachers leave the profession within five years of qualifying.
- That under the Government’s current plans for public sector pay, teachers will see a realterms pay cut of around £3,000 between 2015–16 and 2020–21.
- Worrying reports about levels of teacher stress, which have found that 60 per cent of the teaching workforce say their job has impacted on their mental health, with one in ten taking anti-depressants.
- Teachers have been placed under inordinate and unsustainable pressure in recent years due to a combination of changes to the curriculum and assessment processes; and crippling school budget cuts.
- That it was wrong for the Government to retain the 1pc cap on teacher’s pay rises in 2017– 18 and that this has contributed to a growing feeling among teachers that they are being undervalued.
- That if teachers are not made to feel that they are respected and valued for the work they do, then recruitment efforts will continue to suffer, and increasingly those in the profession will be forced out, leaving our schools worse off and reducing educational opportunities for young people.
Conference calls for:
- Government to commission an urgent review to identify the factors leading to problems with teacher recruitment and retention rates.
- The Government to reverse the decision to retain a 1pc cap on teacher pay rises, and for all teachers in state schools to be offered pay rises in line with inflation.
- The Government to work with Ofsted to reform school inspection processes, ensuring they take account of teachers’ workload and staff retention and recruitment rates, so that school leadership is incentivised to prioritise the wellbeing of their staff.
- Liberal Democrats to continue to campaign in Parliament for a reversal of cuts to front-line school and college budgets, protecting per-pupil funding in real terms.
- The introduction of a clear and properly funded entitlement to continued professional development for all teachers, to ensure people see opportunities to progress in their careers.
- Liberal Democrats to continue to campaign for a new Royal College of Teachers to oversee the delivery of continued professional development as well as Qualified Teacher Status.
- The Government to reassess how it carries out long-term planning of teacher training places, working in close partnerships with higher education and specialist routes such as Teach First in ensure the recruitment of high quality teachers in shortage areas such as science, technology, engineering, the arts and maths.