Headlines: June 18th, 2002

OFSTED has identified gaps in the joined up hunt to find and keep good teachers.Everyone from teachers to Estelle Morris acknowledges there is a problem in recruiting and retaining teachers, and there has been a plethora of initiatives to address this – from ‘golden hellos’ to the offer of paying off the student debts of trainee teachers.

Headteachers have also been given some flexibilities over pay so that they can give incentives to their best performers.
But according to OFSTED, which inspects schools, colleges and education authorities, there’s a gap in the joined up nature of tackling the problem.

In its first ‘thematic’ inspection of a sample group of local authorities, it has found that, while LEAs are doing what they can to help schools attract teachers, there’s very little going on to either assess the effectiveness of recruitment initiatives, the impact of what happens when teachers are lost, or perhaps most alarmingly, very little offered at all on retaining teachers, once they have been taken on.

OFSTED passes the blame for this on the way central government funding is handed on to local education authorities year on year with no published long-term central funding strategy.

It says this makes LEA strategic planning exceedingly difficult.

‘Recruitment and Retention of Teachers and Headteachers: Strategies adopted by LEAs’ is published on the OFSTED web site at www.ofsted.gov.uk