Elite teachers

newsletter 061115

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced how she plans to tackle underachievement in schools by recruiting a pool of “elite teachers” into struggling schools.

The education secretary has said that there are 20 local authorities around the UK where most pupils do not achieve five good GCSE’s including English and Maths. Mrs Morgan claimed that “coastal towns and rural areas are the main areas struggling due to struggles in recruiting and retaining good teachers, meaning they lack the vital ingredient that makes for a successful education. Too many young people aren’t being given the chance to succeed because of where they live”. Because of this these Mrs Morgan is looking to target the costal and rural areas by bringing in these “elite teachers”. But where are these teachers going to come from in this recruitment crisis?

In a speech last Tuesday, Nicky announced details of the pre-election pledge to create a National Teaching Service. This will look to recruit a pool of 1,500 high achieving teachers over five years who would be sent to schools in areas with poor results, such as coastal towns. In a bid to make these roles attractive to the 1,500 elite teachers, Mrs Morgan plans on providing financial incentives with staff expected to stay up to three years. The National Teaching Service will aim to play an integral role in solving the issue coastal towns and rural areas are facing. Brian Lightman, leader of the ASCL head teachers’ union, has welcomed the National Teaching Service with open arms claiming that it could be the answer to helping schools in parts of the country where they “simply cannot recruit teachers”. Back in 2001 this idea was used by a Mckinsey consultant Brett Wigdortz, who recruited top graduates, offered them six weeks of teacher training and then put them straight to work in the country’s worst performing schools. In return the graduates where offered mentoring, support and better than average starting salaries. But will it work this time?

Strategies similar to these have been previously used offering top head teachers incentives to go to failing schools in coastal areas. The idea is favoured by almost everyone but where are these 1,500 ‘elite teachers’ coming from? Surely they will be working at other schools? Taking these teachers from the other schools will this not hamper their progression? What do you think? Have your say here…

5 thoughts on “Elite teachers

  1. Oh dear didn’t they talk about this before and I don’t believe it worked! Also these bursaries paid to staff who stay for 3 years has resulted in teachers being used and abused and bullied – and due to salary conditions unable to leave! Yeah great idea! Perhaps Nicky Morgan might try to keep the many hundreds of teachers leaving the profession on a weekly basis where they are! Instead of paying them less for more work and treating them so badly – blaming teachers for societies problem! There is a massive teacher shortage and it’s only going to get worse! Anyone in a position to leave teaching has! The rest will simply find a way to get out, paycuts and lack of pay rises only make leaving the profession easier! Well done – you have ruined a profession in a couple of years! You should be applauded!

  2. I sympathise with some of the sentiments of the last post but using an exclamation mark in every sentence reduces the impact.

  3. The level of SPG in both the article and the comment is truly appalling.
    This ‘new’ initiative has clearly NOT been thought through.
    Instead, why don’t we parachute outstanding MPs into Parliament and get rid of the ‘dead wood’ there – similarly, in the House of Lords, as there are plenty of people looking for £300 per day in expenses?!
    Yes, we could just pluck these teachers out of their ‘comfort zone’ of a Good/Outstanding school, but where does that leave the school they are departing.
    Also, teaching comes with experience. It is all very well recruiting ‘top academic’ graduates, but not all have the ability to communicate and enthuse a school student; they may have that ability for a University undergraduate, so, maybe, they would be better suited to academia.

  4. 18 months ago I was interviewed and accepted as a Specialist Leader in Education which I believe was another government initiative to support schools by using teachers rather than expensive consultants to improve standards. I was cynical about consultancy on the cheap but wanted to do it to help other colleagues in a sensitive and professional way and also I am honest to develop my career opportunities. To this day I have not been given a single opportunity or contact from the training school who recruited me. My interest, my time and no doubt public money wasted! Could it be the same again?!

  5. I don’t believe this will resolve the underlining issue. It is more complex than the solution suggests.

    I am currently covering a maternity cover in rural Wales. My second maternity cover. Why? Since taking VR in my last post where I was a Curriculum Team leader for several departments, there have been very limited opportunities for me because;

    1. Teachers don’t leave rural schools in Wales until they either retire or die (it’s a common saying in rural Wales). Thus change is often more difficult to implement in schools such as new initiatives as the staff dynamic is often unchanged for long periods of time. There are also positives to this of course but without a doubt good teachers are being driven away from rural communities because of this. There are simply very few job opportunities.
    2. Very few schools offer the upper pay scale compared to England so any experienced teachers who have a wealth of knowledge and additional qualifications are forced to look at other opportunities elsewhere. I have spent several thousands on my additional qualifications and yet the absence so often of a UPS means I either take a significant pay cut or consider alternative careers. This is a very serious point. The upper pay scale is a recognition of a member of staff with advanced skill sets. Rural Wales rarely use the UPS for teaching posts.
    3.There is a much higher proportion of teachers teaching their non specialist subject in rural schools. At my current school no year 7s are taught by the subject specialis In my area, only one year 8 class is and only two year 9 classes. Even GCSEs are taught by non specialists.

    I am at a crossroads in my teaching career which upsets me deeply. After over 15 years as a teacher (13 of those in England) where I have been motivated, ambitious, dedicated and gone continuously above my roles and responsibilities as well as continuously developing myself professionally including additional academic qualifications as well as National Governing qualifications, I am having to consider alternative career opportunities if I want to stay in rural Wales because of the above three factors. My CV is extraordinary. I am an excellent teacher. My references and quality assurance will support this. And yet this proposal is saying they want to bring people from outside…start by offering UPS in rural Wales and insist on specialists teaching their subject(s). Just those two factors will make a significant difference.

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