Season 1 Episode 5: Get Into Teaching - with Addison Brown
In this episode Addison Brown, star of the 'Get Into Teaching' TV campaign, shares his thoughts on why now may be the perfect time to become a teacher. Addison is a Team GB Water Polo Athlete, musician, father, husband and secondary school teacher in his third year of teaching at the time of this recording. He talks about the people and books that have inspired him on his journey, the positive ways to manage workload and how to tackle those challenging moments in the early parts of a teaching career. Recorded in Manchester, UK, this is part 1 of a half-term special devoted to recruitment and retention.
In the profession, recruiting and retaining teachers has been one of the most challenging issues of recent times. Simply put, we are losing more teachers than we can afford: the challenge of retaining teachers has been getting worse, with over 20% of new teachers leaving within their first 2 years, and 33% leaving within their first 5.
In the past, most teachers reported that they did’t have an acceptable workload and couldn’t achieve a good work-life balance. One survey found that nearly three quarters of school leaders were experiencing difficulties in recruiting teachers, with 61% saying that the situation had got worse or much worse over the last year.
A survey of over 8,000 NEU members, published in 2018, found that 81% of them had considered leaving the profession in the last year because of workload pressures. Carole Willis, the chief executive of the National Foundation for Educational Research, said, “The retention and recruitment of teachers is one of the most important policy issues facing England’s education system today.”
But recent moves by the Department for Education have given some school leaders hope that we have entered a new, more optimistic chapter for teacher recruitment. The latest Teacher Workload Survey results show that teacher workload is improving, with teachers and middle leaders reporting that they spend less time on non-teaching activities, such as planning and preparation, marking, administration and, to a lesser extent, data management, than in previous years. There is a new focus from ‘Ofsted’, the national body for school inspection, on ensuring that schools reduce workload, reduce unnecessary administrative tasks and ensure that there is a focus on positive morale and well-being for staff teams. Schools now have more freedom to develop pay policies to attract and retain teachers, with wages for new teachers rising by 6.7% from September – up to £32,000 in inner London. The Teachers' Pension Scheme is one of only eight guaranteed by the Government; it provides additional benefits linked to salary and is inflation-proof to offer teachers a secure retirement.
There has been a growing trend of mature adults entering teaching as a second career, with incentives such as tax free bursaries, school-led training and family-friendly working hours that provide the opportunity for unrivalled long and regular holidays.
Sam Stones, a teacher at Norton College said, “I'd never thought that teaching could… provide such diverse, rich, stimulating and varied opportunities. Teaching has taken me beyond the four walls of my classroom to destinations including Borneo and Amsterdam…Teaching means I can… make a positive difference to students' lives by empowering them to achieve their dreams”
Have we reached a turning point in recruitment and retention?