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12 December 2023 - Teacher recruitment, training and retention - Oral evidence

Committee Education Committee
Inquiry Teacher recruitment, training and retention

Tuesday 12 December 2023

Start times: 9:30am (private) 10:00am (public)

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New Schools Minister faces Committee on national teacher shortage  

The new Schools Minister Damian Hinds will be questioned by the Education Committee in the final session of its inquiry into teacher recruitment, training and retention. 

The Minister will be asked for his views on claims that the country faces a “crisis” in staffing levels across the schools sector, particularly in specialist subjects like maths, sciences, IT and languages. 

Meeting details

At 10:00am: Oral evidence
Inquiry Teacher recruitment, training and retention
Minister of State for Schools at Department for Education
Director of Teaching Workforce: Candidates, Trainees, Strategy, Portfolio and Analysis at Department for Education

On 7 December, the Department for Education revealed that its targets for recruitment to Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses was missed by 50% for secondary schools, a downgrading from 57% in 2022/23. 

The persistent failure to hit targets for recruiting specialist teachers has meant that STEM subjects are increasingly taught by non-specialists. The Minister will be asked about ways to expand and improve Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses, designed to train up existing teachers to deliver shortage subjects such as physics and maths. 

Likely areas of questioning

MPs will ask about the effectiveness of bursaries in boosting ITT course recruitment in some subjects, and whether they might be skewing recruitment away from subjects where no, or low, bursaries are available. 

Meanwhile, having looked at other sectors with recruitment challenges, the cross-party Committee will ask whether a tie-in “golden handcuffs” system – used to keep newly-trained dentists in the NHS – could be considered as a way to retain teachers. 

Mr Hinds will be questioned on the effectiveness of the Workload Reduction Toolkit – a set of guidance the Department issued to school leaders to cut down unnecessary tasks and improve teachers’ work/life balance. The Committee has heard that the Toolkit has not been widely engaged with, but that teachers who have used it found it useful. Similar feedback has been given regarding the Department’s Flexible Working Toolkit. 

After a year of industrial action, the Committee will ask the Minister to respond to questions that retention and recruitment will depend on wages increasing again in future relative to inflation. 


Room 15, Palace of Westminster

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