WHEN it comes to the future of public services, Theresa May’s government likes to accentuate the word ‘recruitment’. Like previous administrations, they want to give the impression that they’re recruiting new staff and responding to the genuine concerns of the electorate over financial pressures.
Yet, while this political ploy pre-dates this Government’s austerity agenda, Ministers of all hues continue to ignore another word which is equally important to this debate – retention. The plain fact of the matter is that insufficient staff are being recruited to replace those who are quitting their profession through disillusionment – and this is placing those that do remain under increased pressure as they strive to do more with less.
And this reality is made even more stark by a survey of National Education Union members which reveals that two fifths of teachers predict they will not be working in this sector by 2024. However, while this appears to be a distant date, it is only five years away and requires concerted action now. Not only does this mean the Government intensifying efforts to recruit a new generation of teachers – but also creating an environment which convinces them that this is also a rewarding career so their services can be retained for the long-term.
This will only happen if Ministers begin to address the two reasons most cited by teachers leaving the profession – workload and an overbearing accountability regime. If not, the inevitable consequence is increased class sizes and more pupils being denied the world-class education to which they should be entitled.