Why is there a chronic and severe teacher recruitment and retention problem?
The DfE (department for education) keep trundling out the same old PR excuses every time they are asked. Some examples are below:
“there are now more teachers in our schools than ever before”.
“We are actively addressing the issues that teachers cite as reasons for leaving the profession, for example by supporting schools to reduce unnecessary workload”.
“We also take teacher recruitment very seriously. As announced at the 2015 Spending Review, this includes investing £1.3bn up to 2020 to attract new teachers into the profession.”
Part of the reason that sustainable solutions aren’t found can be found in their answers.
Every time they speak, they refer to outputs rather than outcomes. This is in stark contrast to the ways in which teachers and schools are judged.
If the DfE were to judge themselves on their outcomes, they might (in the interests of effectiveness) change their approach a little.
Stress is often seen as a measure of difficulty in a job or role, however, this is misleading, because the stress in a job is caused by the lack of control the operative has when trying to determine their actions. Therefore simple jobs can be stressful and complex jobs can be stressless.
That there is too much centralised control might provide a good working hypothesis, aligned with the fact that education has become a commodity rather than a public service.
I’ve given you a clue, now get on with it.
Every day I go to work and sit down with the staff
So, problem 1, why don’t we have the time to have a laugh?
My friends all think I must be mad “you really must be barking”
So, problem 2, is how to play when all we do is marking?
The pressure never goes away the parents, and the Head
So, problem 3, make miracles as the ‘Tables’ must be fed
I’ve got a lesson in my head where I can teach like me
So, problem 4, we’re not supposed to act creatively
I feel my power slip away we’ve just become like tools
So, problem 5, we’ve lost the days when we could make the rules
I know it sounds like griping, but if I can’t have my say
Then I will join the others and just gently slip away
Spend all you like but money won’t address this chronic mess
So think instead what you must do to mitigate the stress
Denial is your default state within your ivory tower
And one thing’s certain, there’s no way you’ll sacrifice your power!