Universities can do more to stop the exodus from state school teaching

Aug 16, 2017 by

Almost a third of state school teachers quit in five years, but by supporting and mentoring NQTs for longer, universities can help keep people in the job

Juliet Fern –

We are in the middle of a teacher retention crisis. Of the 21,400 teachers who started teaching in state schools in 2010, 30% quit within five years. There are many reasons for this, and much work is being done to try and alleviate some of the pressures teachers face, such as the government’s action plan [pdf] on reducing workload. One avenue we are exploring is the role universities could play.

More than 80 higher education institutions in the UK offer teacher education courses. In each, there are teams of experienced education experts supporting the next generation of teachers as they prepare to enter the profession. Many of these teams are made up of former teachers and individuals who have worked in education for many years. These hubs of teacher education and classroom knowledge are an excellent resource in the battle to retain teachers.

There are two important ways university teacher education teams could support those currently in the classroom. The first is in the transition phase between initial teacher training and being a newly qualified teacher (NQT). Ofsted has recently altered its framework to place more of the responsibility for transition on universities, rather than on schools. Despite the obvious extra burden this places on departments such as mine, it is a move I support.

It makes sense for universities to stay involved in the progression of teachers immediately after their graduation. We have got to know them, their strengths and areas for improvement.

We are already supporting new teachers through this transition at the University of Bedfordshire. Once a term, our dedicated NQT coordinator leads a meeting with the local teaching school and the three local authorities that employ 70% of our 200 NQTs. We discuss the development of the cohort and identify themes in the issues the NQTs are facing. Similarly, the university team regularly brings together all their mentors to hear their perspective on their mentees’ progress.

Source: Universities can do more to stop the exodus from state school teaching | Teacher Network | The Guardian

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