A strategy has finally emerged from the Secretary of State this week which focuses on recruitment and retention, personally this is a welcomed step, as there does need some genuine collaboration to tackle the growing challenges around recruiting teachers, especially for us in Camden where retaining the talent and specialism is a priority.

I read the outline of Damian Hinds’ strategy, where the policies seem pragmatic and sensible in attempting to confront the challenges that schools are faced with. A few observations to note;

  • The new Early Career Framework (ECT) increases induction for new teachers to two years with £130 million to fund mentor training and 5 per cent off-timetable for teachers in year two. The Education Endowment Foundation is funding pilots from September, before national roll-out in September 2021.
  • New specialist qualifications will be developed to further careers outside the traditional school leadership route, covering assessment, behaviour, curriculum and pedagogy. There will be a “teacher developer” national professional qualification (NPQ) to support the actual roll-out.
  • There are also plans to build new homes for teachers on surplus school land. If there is demand, the DfE will work with the government’s housing department to explore whether an extension of permitted development rights is needed to speed up such developments. The housing issue for teachers in Camden is a challenge, however, there is not often surplus land in London schools and furthermore, teachers do not always want to be literally ‘tied’ to the school.

Yet still, the wider education system is still devoid of a central government vision and outline for education, which includes academisation, the financial challenge that schools are increasingly dealing with and the reduction in pupil numbers in the capital. However, on Wednesday I attended the Association of Education Partnerships (AEPA) meeting in Birmingham, where education partnerships from across the country came together to further our collective development and thinking. It was most certainly an interesting day, hearing from Dr Kate Chhatwal the CEO of Challenge Partners outline their approach to peer review and quality assurance, and Andrew de Csilléry from Herts for Learning who shared their approach working with 550 schools and the challenges and opportunities for the future. It is now important that as an association, we articulate what our vision, narrative is, with some core values, and an alternative solution to a direct academy agenda, which is genuinely school’s led

One for the diaries-I have just arranged for John Seal, Senior Ofsted HMI to come to Camden on Monday 25th February at 1:30pm to outline the proposed new Ofsted framework for September 2019. I will finalise the venue when it has been confirmed. This will provide the precursor to a couple of organised sessions where we can meet Heads and governors to collate a Camden response to the consultation.

 

Jon Abbey

Managing Director, Camden Learning

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