Challenges facing educators

Date: Friday 22nd December 2017

RORY Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, met with some of Cumbria’s key education figures to discuss some of the challenges facing the teaching system.

The group included Graham Frost, Cumbria branch secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers,Sue Sanderson, Cumbria County Council cabinet member for schools and learning, and Kathryn Fox, head of school partnership and external engagement at the University of Cumbria.

Issues discussed included support and funding for inclusive practice, recruitment and retention of school leaders, and the training, recruitment and retention of teaching staff.

Following the meeting, Mr. Stewart said: “We should remember that more people came back into teaching in 2016 than in 2011, and more people came into teaching than left last year, and that is encouraging, but it is absolutely right that teacher retention and professional development is prioritised, and I am pleased that the Government is investing £42 million to pilot a teacher development premium, which will test the impact of a £1,000 budget for high-quality professional development for teachers working in areas that have fallen behind.

“I am also encouraged by plans to introduce extensive measures to boost teacher recruitment and retention, as well as the investment in teacher support and training.

“A new-style maths bursary will also be piloted, with 1,500-2,000 maths trainees expected to benefit from this in 2018-19. Over £30 million will be invested in supporting some of those schools that face the biggest challenges in recruiting and retaining teachers, and Northern Powerhouse funding will be used to support the best teacher trainer providers to expand their reach in northern areas.

“I welcome the £75 million investment in the teaching and leadership innovation funding over the next three years. This will support high-quality professional development for teachers and school leaders in the parts of country and the schools that need it the most.

“All this news is very encouraging, but we absolutely need to make sure that any scheme will benefit rural areas like Cumbria, where our unique geography can often put us at a disadvantage.”