Covid reflections two years after lockdown and lessons for schools over teacher recruitment – The Yorkshire Post says

THE TASK facing Rishi Sunak in the Spring Statement is made even more sobering by today’s poignant events to mark the second anniversary of Britain’s first Covid lockdown.

As families pause to remember loved ones who have died from the virus, it is also an opportune time to reflect on the sacrifices made by the country’s key workers during the pandemic – their commitment and compassion redefined the meaning of ‘public service’.

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And the Chancellor needs to find a way to acknowledge this in today’s speech if the NHS – and schools – are to be able to recruit the next generation of doctors, nurses and teachers.

Ripon Cathedral will host a a service today as part of the National Day of Reflection to mark the second anniversary of the Covid lockdown. Photo: James Hardisty.

This is laid bare by a new report by the National Foundation for Educational Research which reports a 23 per cent fall in the number of applicants for teacher training. The consequence is that recruitment targets are likely to be missed in a range of secondary school subjects this year when it is accepted by all that education and skills training is the ultimate test of levelling up.

Yet, given the rate at which experienced staff are leaving the classroom, there is every likelihood that class sizes will become even higher – and to the detriment of pupils who need extra support to meet Government benchmarks.

As such, it’s critical that Ministers gain a better understanding about the reasons why teachers are leaving in such numbers and what can be done to reverse this. It’s not just about pay – many choose to work in schools because of a desire to help young people to fulfil their potential – and it would be prudent of Mr Sunak to begin this work in today’s Spring Statement.

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Schools continue to face a recruitment crisis.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is preparing to deliver the Spring Statement.