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Carmichael' report on teacher recruitment...underwhelming?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Mrsmumbles, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    So I read through this yesterday whilst waiting for my pizza to arrive. As you do. Am I the only teacher who thinks he has been given a shedload of overpaid MP's time to create a pretty stained glass window which proudly announces that the Pope is catholic? I really have been doing the wrong job, haven't I? So many easier and more lucrative ways to earn money Whilst Achieving ****-all!
    I loved reading his interpretations of the usefulness of workload challenge (a glowingly noble Tory initiative, also known as 'my spin doctoring team need to come up with empty platitudes to please Malcolm Tucker)

    You have to laugh, you really do. If you know anyone mad enough to be considering teaching, email them this. Oh...and...in order to access this on Google, I had to use speech marks, as if you type in the key words such as 'school recruitment', you get a flood of government-based advertising and propaganda. Funny that....
    peggylu likes this.
  2. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter


    I thought the report was good, actually. Yes, it did repeat/reiterate/regurgitate what we've been saying in the profession for years but it's the first time I've read a government report that criticised the "failure" (a direct quotation from several places in the report) of the government in terms of retention. I have some thoughts (other than "well, durr") and because I am lovely, I'll do it for free!

    1. The report points out the silliness of spending £700 million a year recruiting teachers when we lose 30% within five years, with a big increase in non-retirement leavers. The clear and inescapable conclusion here is that retention is more important than recruitment; if you keep teachers in the profession, you increase the pool of experience, leading to better and more experienced middle and senior leaders who've spent enough time in the classroom to understand the day-today issues. Better retention means lower recruitment targets. It decreases the need for huge bursaries (which are stupid anway as people training on £30,000 don't then want to do their NQT year for £8,000 less). It also means you have a more setlled, happy workforce who're prepared to talk up the profession. Look at how many people on here would not recommend teaching to their children, friends or acquaintances.

    There are many ways you could improve retention. Firstly, a huge overhaul of inspection is needed. At the moment, inspections are punitive and judgemental. They do not improve schools. Inspections need to be less stressful, conducted by current teachers and headteachers, and focus only on constructive comments. I know firsthand that Ofsted reports are bullsh** (there are two factual errors in my school's recent report which are negative - this is now out there for the world to see even though they are incorrect). But the reports can be incredibly damaging. In turn, this creates extra workload and stress for staff, and puts Heads at risk of losing their entire career.

    Secondly, insist that massive curriculum changes are given time to embed. It's all very well saying 'you get a year's notice' of GCSE spec changes, for example, but some of the new GCSEs that started in September 2016 were not accredited until the end of the previous academic year. That gave teachers 6 (HOLIDAY) weeks to do all the work for the new teaching. As an English HoD, I taught a full day, took my marking home, did my planning and then had to work on reading, resourcing, planning, researching and writing schemes of work for the new GCSE. Any other profession which saw wholesale changes to every element of their work would be given time during the working day to implement the changes - we're the onl suckers who do a normal day and then extra work at home and then even more because Gove decided he wanted to return to his own school days.

    Thirdly, having someone in charge of wellbeing in schools is all very well but does nothing to address the key issues: UPS teachers being bullied by senior leaders to save money when they leave; Ofsted-required paperwork that takes time away from the actual teaching; a culture of 'who works the longest'; required after school and holiday sessions (often unpaid) that exhaust staff and sap morale; hours spent on pointless marking that does nothing but impress inspectors; constant niggly changes that mean everything has to be tweaked constantly and leaves no time to actually improve what's already there; senior managers who don't teach (and in the case of some MATs, have never taught) implementing policy changes without considering workload. For example, my Head is now requiring a meeting after school every single week (we used to have week off every month in weeks where there were other after-school things). That means that at least twice a week I will work a 10 hour day before I go home and do my marking. The Head has not considered how this will impact childcare requirements, workload, when the classroom teachers will do their marking...and the meetings are almost entirely pointless so add nothing to my professional development. Marking policies, rotten behaviour policies that require teachers to run around like headless chickens, new policies being implemented every 12 minutes...they add to workload and are noticeably poor at improving conditions in the workplace.

    2. CPD - it is, as it says in the report, shocking that we receive so little CPD as professionals. But until schools have a budget that allows teachers to have a day off every term for CPD, or organise decent in-school CPD, this isn't going to happen.
    chelsea2, bevdex, PeterQuint and 13 others like this.
  3. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    Aplogies for typos - typing with a broken finger!
    PeterQuint, peggylu and install like this.
  4. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    When I started teaching ( and not THAT long ago!) my county paid for the UPS element of a teacher's salary. So it didn't cost the school any more to retain experienced older teachers. this meant that you had several teachers in the staffroom who could actually say "No, we tried that five years ago and it didn't work" when idiotic measures were introduced! Rather than paying bursaries to train new teachers who don't last, why not have a "UPS bursary " to reduce the cost to schools of retaining experienced staff?
    roman_eagle, bevdex, Shedman and 6 others like this.
  5. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    The complete disintegration of CPD has been very noticeable. Personally I've not attended anything of any practical use whatsoever for years. At my current school (which really isn't that bad) it is (for me anyway) - zero.
    Mrsmumbles and peggylu like this.
  6. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Bursaries were a stupid idea - people just took the money and then left.
    Mrsmumbles and peggylu like this.
  7. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    ...and the quality of people coming in as trainees isn't very good either.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  8. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Hope you regain full use of it soon.
    galerider123 likes this.
  9. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    Me too. I need this particular finger for indicating to other drivers that I am displeased with their conduct...;)
  10. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    It's shocking that the UK has the highest proportion of young teachers in Europe, with many older teachers leaving well before retirement. All that experience, gone. All those who might have taken up senior leadership positions, gone. All those wise older teachers aren't there to stop the same circle of not-very-bright initiatives being repeated, gone.

    The report for me just reiterates what we already know. The Government either hasn't listened to recommendations in the past, or has listened but put in a series of ineffective and pointless measures that have done nothing for anyone.

    Fewer subjects, fewer older teachers, larger chains of schools, getting rid of many University PGCE courses, getting rid of LEAs? I don't know why anyone is pretending. This is all about cutting costs. Teaching and standards are in a mess and there is no way out until the Conservatives are out of power. What I really want to see is Labour coming up with a coherent, practical, realistic education policy though, rather than a series of vague half-promises. I haven't forgotten the mess that the arrogant Balls, Blunkett etc caused - they were not much better than Gove when it came to change for change's sake and the endless initiatives based on hunches rather than evidence without thinking through the consequences.
  11. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    Nothing is going to change while you have politicians meddling with education. My real concern are the growth of MATs and their influence on government policy. We will no longer have a public education system they will be run like the utility companies. The MATs will receive a public grant which will decrease over the years and the public will pay more, especially for the better schools. I am waiting to how the government of whatever colour is going to make the public swallow that pill.
  12. peggylu

    peggylu Star commenter

    Brilliant post and summation of key issues. You should get this submitted to TES as a secret teacher article as it's spot on. (And typed with a broken finger to boot!). Very impressive.
  13. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Good read... thanks.

    The report struggles to load on my phone so appreciated.
  14. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Indeed, times have changed seem to be worsening rather than improving.
  15. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

  16. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    @secretsiren: very nicely summarised and analysed, yes indeed, but my point was: why bother at all if they're not going to do ever act on the good advice? It's like a very overweight person getting the best personal training tips and diet advice out there, noddding sagely, then proceeding to binge for the next year of junk food. Perverse. Personally, I think Carmichael held back a bit too much, but then, that is politics for you. He raises the points but cannot deliver the goods. No wonder Tory popularity is bombing. They ignore their own committees and report findings! I saw the parliamentary filmed committee meeting about this topic as well. Kevin Courteney was brilliant. I think he was called as a witness's. The rest were all pontificating away about this and that, teachfirst blathering on about course fee 'amnesties' to bribe the youngunsi into staying on longer, just in time for their first meltdown, etc etc. Then Courteney pointed out, very politely, that there WERE enough good teachers, it was just that they didn't want to teach anymore. Silence. For a few seconds. Then off they went again. It isn't a true democracy if the only people allowed to raise questions and chair committees are those who always toe the line. Ah well.
    peggylu and JohnJCazorla like this.
  17. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    But..to be honest...who even has time to do proper CPD these days, particularly if you deliver a core subject with an exercise book turnaround target of 125 a week? I gave up at the end. Another great way for SLT to save money...overwork your staff, exhaust them until they exhibit the first signs of depression and exhaustion, then count all the shekels you saved that year in reduced takeup of INSET. What a marvellous growth mindset English school management systems display. The DFE and OFSTED are simply 'not bovvered....'
    peggylu and Compassman like this.
  18. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Agreed, your prediction may well come true. It's already happening. What stuns me is how these predominantly thick, rude, money-pilfering exec heads are taken seriously by parents. Schools are pretty unhappy places these days. To work in a nice one with good management is becoming the exception rather than the rule. Blooming Tories.
    peggylu and JohnJCazorla like this.
  19. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    It will need online learning and teachers working OUT of schools to cover the missed curriculum and undo the damage caused to kids IN them. This is not to disrespect the teachers, many of whom are hamstrung by deranged line managers forcing them to dance to the mad corporate jig of the centralised 'team', teach things they don't know at the expense of things that they excel in. It's this fear of multiplicity and diversity which incenses me. Why is it that so few managers fail to grasp that teaching is individualised, there IS no template for good teaching, we all have our own ways of getting the best out of kids. You wouldn't criticise two brain surgeons who had slightly different surgical strengths but were both highly trained, qualified and successful, yet this is exactly what they are doing to the UPS teachers. Experience IS the asset, it is NOT the enemy. But this lot are too thick to see it. That's why they went into politics, not teaching. The DFE have murdered by dissection. The good teachers are quitting. Heads are quitting. Trainees are leaving halfway through. As you say, tragic wastage occurs. MATS are saving money, but it's self-defeating because they are kicking out their best assets, who ain't coming back.
  20. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I could still have been in there doing my bit.
    However, I've had a taste of freedom, I'm working with people who tell me if they think I've done something constructive and I'm not going back to the mainstream.
    Mrsmumbles and Compassman like this.

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