Department for Education - Written evidence (FFF0056)


Written evidence from the Department for Education to the House of Lords Public Services Committee inquiry “Designing a public services workforce fit for the future”


  1. The Department for Education is grateful for the opportunity to respond to the Committee’s call for evidence.
  2. We are responsible for skills (including policy on higher education, further education, and apprenticeships), schools, and families (including policy for children’s services and early years) in England.
  3. The responsibility for the workforce in each of these sectors varies according to the way each sector is structured. Given that, this evidence goes into more depth on some sectors than others. Using the largest workforces in these sectors as examples:
    1. The Department aims to support the development of social worker diversity, skills, and leadership, including with national programmes to support graduates to train as social workers. However, local authorities are responsible for the appropriate social work practice model and staffing levels in their area, and the training and development of their children’s social care workforce post-qualification. The Department funds some post-qualification training programmes.
    2. The Department gathers national data and insights on the Early Years workforce through a representative survey, and has some influence on workforce numbers through the Early Years Statutory Framework, which sets out mandatory staff:child ratios. However, local authorities are responsible for the sufficiency of childcare places in their area. 84% of the Early Years sector workforce consists of private, voluntary, and independent (PVI) organisations and childminders. 16% work for public sector employers.[1] PVIs are responsible for the recruitment and retention of their own staff.
    3. The Department is responsible for ensuring there are enough high-quality teachers in schools to deliver a world-class education for every child. The Department’s work aligns with every stage of the teacher journey – from the marketing and support offered to candidates who are considering entering teacher training, to the policies and programmes aimed at developing and retaining experienced leaders. However, the system offers school leaders high levels of autonomy around planning for workforce requirements at a local (school and trust) level, as they are best placed to determine the workforce required to meet the needs of their pupils.
    4. Further Education (FE) providers are not part of the public sector, and are responsible for their own decisions on staffing issues – including assessing workforce needs. However, the Department supports recruitment, retention, and development of the FE workforce. We also recently launched a new annual data collection to gather key information about the sector, ensuring that we will be able to better-assess sector needs in future.
    5. Higher Education (HE) providers are similarly independent institutions responsible for their own decisions on staffing issues, including on how they structure themselves to deliver research and teaching priorities.
  4. The Department is also responsible for some smaller workforces. For example, the Department works in partnership with local educational psychology services to ensure there is a steady flow of educational psychologists into the workforce. This includes providing part funding for their training. Since 2020, we have increased the number of trainees we fund from 160 to over 200 per year, in response to demand.
  5. Similarly, the children’s homes sector is responsible for recruitment and retention, setting their own pay and conditions of service (with 70% of homes being run by the private sector). Regulations prescribe minimum qualification requirements and quality standards. The Department works collaboratively with the sector to support them in addressing recruitment and retention challenges, for example, by helping to raise the profile and status of working in the sector and making it a career choice for those seeking employment.
  6. The Department is undertaking key reform programmes across our sectors. These include:
    1. A schools white paper, due to be published later this year, which will set out our long-term plan for the teaching workforce;
    2. A Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) green paper, due to be published for full public consultation in the first three months of this year; and
    3. An independent review, looking at the children’s social care system, is due to share its recommendations in spring 2022. The Government’s response will form the basis of our future plans for children’s social care.
  7. Key data regarding these workforces can be found in Annex A. Further information can be found in the linked sources.

Recruitment, retention and training

Q1. It is difficult to predict accurately how the public services workforce will need to change in the long term, and yet it is necessary to prepare now for the future. What is an appropriate approach to long-term planning for workforce needs and demand in public services, and how should current training adapt, not just at the point of employees’ entry into the workforce but throughout their careers?

Q2. Conventional approaches to training have not enabled enough professionals to enter the public services workforce to meet demand. How might training change to maximise the number of public services professionals and improve their skills?

  1. We will answer questions 1 and 2 together.
  2. Planning and responding to demand: the Department makes significant use of data to help it predict the size of workforces required in the future. For example, the Teacher Workforce Model estimates the future national teacher demand in England. The Department uses the model to assist in the setting of workforce related targets, workforce planning, and the design of new policies. The model considers the impact of a wide range of factors upon both future demand and supply including (and not limited to) pupil number projections, economic impacts, secondary school curriculum, retirements, and teacher demographics.
  3.         In other sectors, the local authority or provider is responsible for responding to local demand and ensuring that they have the right number of staff. The Department supports these sectors with national activity, such as campaigns. For example, our recently-launched Teach In Further Education campaign[2] encourages dual-professionalism among industry experts, signposting opportunities to work flexibly as an FE teacher alongside a professional career. Similarly, the Department is improving the supply of social workers through graduate entry programmes (such as Step Up to Social Work[3] and Frontline[4]).
  4.         Adapting training for new skills needs, and to drive recruitment and retention: in the last few years, the Department has undertaken a number of reforms to encourage more people into the profession, and improve workforce training.
  5.         Some of our largest reforms have come in teacher training, following the publication of the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy in 2019. Teaching quality is the most important in-school factor in improving pupil outcomes, and there is evidence that high quality continuing professional development (CPD) improves teacher retention.[5] By putting in place world-class training and development, our reforms will create a golden thread running from initial teacher training (ITT) through to school leadership, rooting teacher and leader development in the best available evidence.
  6.         The Department has improved its teacher training offer as follows:
    1. Created a range of routes into the profession: the Department is encouraging and supporting trainees from diverse backgrounds to enter the profession by creating a variety of ways to undertake teacher training. These routes include:
      1. Undergraduate and postgraduate routes provided through HE, supported by student finance maintenance and tuition fee loans.
      2. School-based routes, through school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) programmes and School Direct (fee-funded) programmes.
      3. Employment based routes, such as the Teacher Apprenticeship (allowing trainees to earn a salary whilst they train), supporting those with financial and family commitments for whom student finance options are not viable.
      4. Targeted programmes, such as Teach First’s 2-year High Potential Initial Teacher Training, which is developing high quality teachers.
      5. Routes for career changers, by funding a bespoke programme that recruits high-calibre graduates who have had a successful professional career. The programme provides transitional support and additional mentoring.
    2. Offered financial incentives: designed to maximise recruitment where it is needed most. For trainees starting ITT in 2022/23, we are offering tax-free bursaries up to £24,000 and scholarships up to £26,000 in chemistry, computing, mathematics and physics along with £15,000 bursaries for design & technology, geography and languages and a £10,000 bursary for biology trainees.
    3. Changing the recognition of the qualifications of overseas teachers: in 2022, we are ensuring that overseas teachers from around the world with the right overseas qualifications can be awarded qualified teacher status (QTS) so that they can work unrestricted in English schools. We are also introducing new support for overseas teachers to help them to adapt to teaching in England, and creating an international teaching qualification, called international QTS (iQTS), allowing trainees around the world to train to our high domestic standards.
    4. Improving the quality of ITT providers: since September 2020, all courses leading to qualified teacher status must be aligned to a mandatory core content framework (CCF), which was published in November 2019. The framework sets out a minimum entitlement for all trainee teachers. In December 2021, we published our response to a review into the ITT sector. The reforms set out in the response aim to drive up the quality and consistency of ITT provision, so that all pupils benefit from newly qualified teachers who have received the best possible ITT underpinned by the CCF.[6]
    5. Improved training in the early stages of a teacher’s career: Following on from their training, early career teachers now continue their journey by completing a new two-year induction, based on the Early Career Framework (ECF) reforms from September 2021. The ECF sets out what all early career teachers should learn about and learn how to do during the first two years of their careers.
    6. Improved training once established in the profession: in Autumn 2021 the Department introduced a new and updated suite of National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) to help teachers and leaders across the profession become more effective inside and outside the classroom. The three existing NPQs in Senior Leadership, Headship and Executive Leadership have been refreshed, ensuring that they are underpinned by the latest evidence of what works. The existing Middle Leadership NPQ has also been replaced with three new specialist NPQs to best address the broad range of responsibilities of current and aspiring middle leaders. Two further NPQs will be added in Autumn 2022.
  7.         World-class teacher development requires world-class delivery. That is why we are also creating a new national professional development infrastructure made up of lead providers and delivery partners, responsible for designing and delivering training to schools for both the ECF and NPQs. From September 2022, The Institute of Teaching will become England’s flagship Lead provider, designing and delivering an exemplary, coherent teacher development pathway from trainee through to executive headship. A national network of Teaching School Hubs will also ensure that every single school in England now has access to expert teacher training and development.
  8.         The Department also offers CPD to improve the workforce’s capability to support children and young people with SEND. This includes:
    1. £2 million for the Whole School SEND consortium in 2021-22, through our contract with Nasen, to continue their work to equip the workforce to deliver high quality teaching for all children and young people with SEND. This will bring the total funding for this contract to over £8 million since 2018.
    2. £600,000 of funding to the Autism Education Trust (AET) in 21-22. The Department has funded the AET since 2011, reaching over 305,000 education staff in this time.
    3. Through the grant which we have in place with the Education and Training Foundation (up to £1.2m in 2021-22) we fund training and support for the college workforce to equip them to offer high quality support for learners with SEND, throughout their time in college.
  9.         We have also instigated reform in other sectors. For example, in social work – where demands change as new risks (such as county lines, drug gangs, online grooming and child sexual abuse) emerge – we have:
    1. Created a range of routes: in addition to the graduate entry programmes (Step Up to Social Work and Frontline) referenced above, university-based undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are available (with student finance support). A social worker degree apprenticeship also launched in March 2019.
    2. Improving the quality of training: to improve the standards and responsiveness to employer needs of university-based training, we fund Teaching Partnerships. These bring together educators and employers to improve the standards of initial social work education and assure a local supply of practice ready social workers.
    3. Offered financial incentives: the Department for Health and Social Care offers a social work bursary to support students on university-based programmes.
    4. Funded leadership training: we fund the Upon programme and the Practice Leader Development Programme (PLDP) for Directors of Children’s Services and Assistant Directors to help local authorities build the skills to design and deliver effective child protection services. We also fund the Practice Supervisor Development Programme (PSDP) to support improvements in supervision. A new, coherent suite of leadership development for social workers, from supervisors to practice leaders, will be introduced from Autumn 2022.
    5. Improved training for the early stages of a social worker’s career: over 3,000 newly qualified child and family social workers are supported every year as part of our Assessed and Supported Year in Employment. The programme gives social workers a reduced case load and additional support in their first year to help them make a great start in the profession.
    6. Improving training once established in the profession: we have published clear Post Qualifying Standards which set out the knowledge and skills expected of child and family practitioners and practice supervisors. We have assessed around 2,000 social workers against these standards through the National Assessment and Accreditation System and over 1,700 social workers have now been accredited. We are working with the sector on a new delivery model for the assessment and accreditation of child and family social workers based on these post-qualifying standards; the current model will not continue beyond March 2022.
  10.         The Skills and Post-16 Education Bill will put in place infrastructure to help improve FE initial teacher training. In addition, we are:
    1. strengthening initial teacher education (ITE) qualifications based on new occupational standards, including a revised Level 5 Learning and Skills Teacher apprenticeship standard.
    2. supporting the sector to develop CPD opportunities, including early career support, mentoring, and enhancing subject specific teaching skills through our FE Professional Development Grants.
    3. targeting support to teachers of T Levels, including training in online teaching.
    4. encouraging a culture of dual professionalism and stronger engagement and collaboration between the FE sector and employers through our Workforce Industry Exchange programme.
  11.         Finally, we are investing £180m to support sector recovery through the Early Years Education Recovery (EYER) programme. This is structured around three key pillars:
    1. a broad training offer centred on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) reforms.
    2. a targeted CPD offer and focus on high quality qualifications.
    3. a specific focus on leaders of Early Years settings.
  12.         As part of this work, we are developing new early years training routes, including a new National Professional Qualification for Early Years Leadership and support for new apprenticeship routes for careers in the early years. We are also expanding the number of Early Years initial teacher training places.
  13.         In the short term, the programme is focussed on addressing the sector’s immediate recovery needs. However, our expectation is that the programme’s legacy will enhance and future-proof the workforce beyond this period. For example, we expect it will significantly increase the number of level 3 qualified special educational need coordinators (SENCOs) and graduates in the Early Years workforce.

Q3. What are the hurdles to joint training between services? Do siloed approaches to attaining professional qualifications prevent joint training? How might better data-sharing improve joint training?

  1.         We do not believe that there is significant demand for joint training between the education sector and other sectors. However, the concept of joint training is applicable in social work, where degrees cover both adult and child social care services. While the advanced skills needed to support and protect children mean that the basic training cannot be shared with other professions, there are a range of CPD opportunities which could be jointly provided between professions – for example, training with police, health and education professionals on specific threats such as child sexual exploitation. These are organised at a local level by local safeguarding partnerships.

Q4. How might the public sector become more attractive as an employer, particularly in comparison with the private sector? How might it become attractive enough to retain workers throughout their careers while maintaining a level of turnover that brings fresh ideas to organisations?

  1.         Recruitment: many people are already attracted to the public sector. For example, over 37,000 new trainee teachers were recruited to start training in 2021/22[7]. Nevertheless, we continue to work to ensure teaching is a competitive and attractive graduate option.
  2.         In addition to making it easier to join the public sector with a variety of routes (see question 2), we are:
    1. Improving pay and incentives: the Government has committed to increasing teacher starting salaries to £30,000.
      1. While pay restraint in 2021/22 means we are now delivering this commitment to a revised timescale, the 5.5% uplift to starting pay in September 2020 has already made a substantial difference to the competitiveness of the early career pay offer.
      2. Written evidence to the School Teachers' Review Body (to be published in Spring 2022) will set out how progress towards a £30,000 starting salary, achieved through pay uplifts across the workforce, can be delivered in a way that is affordable across the school system.
      3. As noted in question 2, we also offer financial incentives for people to train as teachers and social workers. Teaching will also benefit from a Levelling Up premium, worth up to £3,000 tax-free for maths, physics, chemistry and computing teachers in years 1 to 5 of their careers. This will support recruitment and retention of specialist teachers in these subjects and in the schools and areas that need them most, including Education Investment Areas. We will be confirming the full eligibility details in due course.
    2. Making it easier to apply: we rolled out a new, one-stop initial teacher training application system in October 2021, called Apply. This has overhauled the process of becoming a teacher. The new data and insights from our services will drive innovation with a view to boosting recruitment in priority subjects. This is backed by our world-class Get into Teaching service, which supports candidates to apply for teacher training.
    3. Improving our communications and campaigns: our Teaching marketing campaign provides inspiration and support to explore a career in teaching and directs people to the Get Into Teaching service. Through a new website, prospective candidates can access support and advice through expert one-to-one Teacher Training Advisers, a contact centre and a national programme of events. The Get School Experience digital service brokers school experience placements between prospective candidates and schools. The service is also developing innovative activities to build a pipeline of future interest in teaching, with a focus on shortage subjects, such as teaching internships for maths, physics and computing undergraduates. In the further education sector, we are increasing the visibility and prestige of FE teaching through our new Teach in FE recruitment campaign, focusing on the particular benefits of FE teaching such as being able to teach flexibly alongside a professional career.
  3.         Retention: as part of our 2019 Teacher Recruitment & Retention Strategy, the Department has been taking significant steps to improve retention in schools. These include:
    1. Reducing workload: this is one of the most-cited reason for teachers leaving the profession. The Department’s school workload reduction toolkit, developed alongside school leaders, is a helpful resource that is used by schools to review and reduce workload in their unique context. We are working with the sector on an update to be published in the coming months. We have commissioned school-based projects to explore workload issues experienced during the pandemic. The Department also continues to assess the impact of its policies on teachers, leaders and schools and has developed a more rigorous approach to assessing burdens on schools throughout the lifetime of a policy.
    2. Behaviour: where behaviour is poor, pupils and staff can suffer from a number of issues, including lost learning time, child-on-child abuse, anxiety, bullying, violence, and distress. Dealing with misbehaviour negatively affects the wellbeing of teachers and, for some, it is the reason why they leave the profession. We are currently consulting on the Behaviour in Schools guidance and the Suspension and Permanent Exclusion guidance. These will equip headteachers to create calm, orderly, safe and supportive school environments where both pupils and staff can thrive and reach their potential in safety and dignity. We have also invested £10 million in behaviour hubs, where schools with exemplary behaviour help others to turn round behaviour in their schools. In addition, in April 2020, we launched the National Behaviour Survey to understand what parents, children, teachers and leaders' perception of behaviour is in school.
    3. Wellbeing: in June 2020, the Government announced a range of commitments to protect and promote the wellbeing of staff in schools and colleges, based on the advice of our Expert Advisory Group on Wellbeing. This included an Education Staff Wellbeing Charter (which over 1,000 schools have signed up to since its launch in November 2021), a mental health and wellbeing support package for school leaders (providing one-to-one counselling and peer support to around 2,000 school leaders), and a senior mental health leads training grant. While we have made progress in these areas, we recognise there is still more to be done. We continue to work the sector to support staff wellbeing and workload reduction plans.
    4. Flexible working: flexible working practices can help schools to recruit, retain and motivate staff.[8] They can also improve staff wellbeing, promote equality of opportunity and diversity in the workforce and play a central role in ensuring that staff are deployed effectively and efficiently. We have published a suite of resources (including non-statutory guidance, research and case studies) to support the implementation of flexible working. In March 2021, we also appointed eight Flexible Working Ambassador Schools to act as champions, share best practice and provide peer support to other schools locally. Alongside this, we appointed Timewise Flexible Working Consultancy in May 2021, to deliver training to school leaders, including on developing strategic approaches to increase flexible working. Finally, as noted in paragraph 10, our recent Teach In Further Education campaign encourages people to join the profession part-time.

Q5. What are the consequences for inequalities of access to public services of failing to attract high-quality professionals to the public sector?

  1.         In paragraph 12 we note the importance of teacher quality in schools. Additional examples across other areas of education include:
    1. Social work: Social work is a demanding field of work which requires professionals to carry out in-depth and ongoing family assessment of social need and risk to children, with particular emphasis on parental capacity and capability to change. A highly knowledgeable, skilled and well led social work workforce helps to protect children from harm and improve their long-term outcomes. If we cannot attract high-quality professionals to social work, we risk the quality of support and protection that these children deserve.
    2. Children’s homes: similarly, the residential childcare workforce has responsibility for caring for some of the most vulnerable children in our society, many of whom have complex needs. A skilled, committed workforce is essential to ensure better outcomes for these children.
    3. Early years: failing to attract high-quality professionals may lead to settings being unable to meet statutory staff:child ratio requirements, and ultimately closure. This could have a detrimental impact on the communities in which those settings are based – both in terms of the early education given to children, and the ability of parents, especially women, to work.

Q6. How can providers of public services recruit a more diverse workforce? How should they improve their recruitment of BAME people, people with disabilities, older people and people who use public services and live in the communities that providers serve?

  1.         As part of the Public Sector Equality Duty, providers of public services should show due regard to the aims of the Public Sector Equality Duty when recruiting a more diverse workforce. They should consider how recruitment policies and practices might eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations. They should also consider quantitative and qualitative data that they have available on their own workforce and that disparities may be due to a wide range of factors. To understand what works and where there might be gaps, a comparative analysis with regional or sector-level data could be useful.
  2.         We have seen some progress in improving the diversity of the workforces in our sectors in recent years. For example:
    1. Incoming teachers: we have observed a slight increase in the number of postgraduate trainees who reported belonging to a minority ethnic group (excluding White minorities), from 19% in 2020/21 to 21% in 2021/22. Prior to 20/21, this percentage had steadily increased over time, up from 14% in 2015/16[9]. This compares to 14% of people in the general population of England and Wales belonging to a minority ethnic group (excluding White minorities) (Census 2011)[10].
    2. Current teachers: the proportion of classroom teachers who do not identify as white British or a white minority rose from 7% to 10% between 2010 and 2020. There has been a corresponding rise too in deputy and assistant heads (up from 4% in 2010 to 7% in 2020) and headteachers (up from 2% in 2010 to 4% in 2020).
    3. Early Years staff: according to the latest 2021 data[11], 88% of staff in school-based providers, 87% of staff in group-based providers and 88% of childminders reported that they/their staff were ‘White British’ or ‘White Other’. This is broadly in line with the overall population: in the 2011 Census, 86% of people in England and Wales were reported to be White[12].
  3.         However, we recognise that there is more to do in some areas such as leadership. To that end, we are undertaking activities across our sectors. To give two examples:
    1. Working with the Department for Health and Social Care to support the Workplace Race Equality Standard (WRES) in children’s social care. The first phase of the WRES is running in 18 local authorities across the country. Working across the children and adult’s social care workforce, this project collects data across a wide range of metrics. These data will improve our understanding of the experiences of the BAME social care workforce. All participating sites will produce a local action plan to address areas of disparity identified from the metrics, and to build on good practice locally. The Government intends to roll this out to all local authorities from year two (April 2022) onwards. In addition, we are encouraging contractors delivering department-funded CPD and leadership programmes to improve recruitment processes, ensure positive experiences for people of minority ethnic backgrounds, and to ensure anti-racism is included in the content of the programmes.
    2. In further education, the Department has invested in CPD programmes for leaders and to increase awareness of diversity, with the intention of developing a more diverse workforce at all levels.
  4.         The work identified in question 4 – particularly on flexible working – is also expected to help support diversity across our workforces.

Transforming workforce effectiveness

Q7. What role can digital tools play in increasing the accessibility of public services workers to service users, and in improving the quality of their work? How might we anticipate and mitigate any inequalities of access to public services that may arise from the expansion of such technologies?

  1.         There is great potential for digital tools to improve accessibility and quality across our sectors. The Department is keen to capitalise on those opportunities.
  2.         Schools and colleges: During the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has played an important role in making sure that children could continue their education. We invested over £520m in 1.85 million devices and connectivity to ensure that children could get online for remote education. Evidence also shows that good use of technology can improve learner outcomes and reduce teacher workload.
  3.         As part of a sustainable digital strategy for education, we want to make sure that teachers and children can use that technology for in-school learning. To do that, we:
    1. invested up to £30m in our Connect the Classroom pilot programme, providing internal Wi-Fi and networking to 1,000 schools around the country.
    2. are working with industry and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to accelerate the full-fibre internet connectivity rollout to all schools in England. DCMS funded broadband programmes have already supported over 1,000 schools in the UK, with another 2,000 schools planned for upgrade in rural, hard-to-reach areas by 2025.
    3. rolled out our EdTech Demonstrator programme, which has helped almost 18,000 schools, colleges and trusts to improve their capability in planning for using technology.
    4. are developing standards to assist all schools and colleges in England to reach a good minimum standard of digital, data and technology. In the short term, we will publish a core set of minimum digital, data and technology standards, and in the long-term support schools and colleges to meet these standards.
    5. provided a further rollout of 500,000 devices to support disadvantaged students.
    6. provided online platforms to schools to help curriculum delivery through the Get Help With Technology programme.
  4.         Children’s social care: the Department is also investigating how to help local authority children’s social care services to benefit more from digital technology. This could support good performance and efficiency, facilitate multi-agency information sharing, and free up more social worker time to work with families. For example, we are investigating how we could help local authorities to improve how their digital case management systems support their workforce. This includes developing guidance to support good planning, procurement, implementation and maintenance of these systems. We are also working with partners in the NHS to consider digital solutions to multi-agency information sharing.

Q8. How can digital technologies be used most effectively for training and up-skilling the public services workforce?

  1.         Digital services are being used to deliver the Early Career Framework and National Professional Qualifications to teachers entering the profession and looking to develop their career. Use of technology allows teachers to access study materials, video exemplifications, record feedback and training points and for their mentors to monitor progress. They also facilitate access to wider peer support networks across school and multi academy trust boundaries. These services can also provide a way for departments to measure uptake, monitor and track engagement and pay for training services against contractual requirements and targets.
  2.         We are developing a new approach to delivering social worker assessment and accreditation on a more sustainable basis, while offering more flexibility for candidates at a lower cost for government. As part of this, we are exploring the possibility of moving towards assessments that can be taken outside of traditional centres, making greater use of digital technologies.

Q9. Preventative and early intervention services can improve the ability of the public services workforce to respond to users’ needs. How might such services be embedded within any public services workforce strategy?

  1.         As the department responsible for early years, schools and children’s social care, early intervention is a particularly important part of what we do. Below are two examples where that approach has been embedded across Government to support some of our most vulnerable children.
  2.         Families: the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities provides guidance to all local authorities and their partners on family support services through the Supporting Families programme, which aims to ensure that vulnerable families with multiple and complex needs get access to the early, coordinated support they need to achieve significant and sustained outcomes. The programme’s Early Help System Guide outlines a national vision and key descriptors of what a mature, joined-up system of support for families should look like, including a description of how the public services workforce may interface with families. The guide describes how all services that come into contact with families should operate as part of a joined-up system, including whole family working, a strong commitment to listening to family voice, a shared culture and practice framework and joint commitment to Early Help.
  3.         SEND: Teacher quality is the most important in-school determinant of pupil outcomes. This is all the more important for children with SEND. By ensuring that children with SEND receive the highest quality teaching at the earliest stages of their lives, we are more effectively able to secure better outcomes for them. A number of our workforce reforms, highlighted in paragraph 13, address this. However, specifically for children with SEND:
    1. The revised ITT CCF (see paragraph 12), that all new entrants to the profession benefit from, has been designed around how to support all pupils to succeed, including those pupils identified within the four areas of need set out in the SEND code of practice.
    2. When developing the framework, there were a range of views from stakeholders and SEND experts about things that could or should be included in the framework. However, there was consensus that our approach of ‘quality-first teaching’ would be the best way to improve outcomes for all children, particularly those with special educational needs.
    3. Over and above the mandated minimum set out in the ITT CCF, we expect ITT providers and their partners to continue to tailor their curricula to the needs of their trainees and the children in the schools where they train and will work. ITT courses must be designed so that trainee teachers have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs.

Q10. What have been the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit on the public services workforce? Have these events created opportunities for workforce reform?

  1.         COVID-19: our workforces have reported a variety of impacts.
    1. Children’s social care: while COVID-19 has caused an increase in absences, local authorities have overall been able to manage absences well. Our COVID-19 Recovery Action Plan aims to stabilise and strengthen children’s social care as we transition out of the pandemic, so we deliver well for children and young people and provide a strong foundation for longer-term reform, informed by the Care Review.
    2. Early years:
      1. Retention: anecdotally, the sector is reporting that COVID has had a detrimental impact on staff wellbeing and resilience, and that we should expect to see a subsequent decline in staff numbers. We have commissioned research to ascertain the accuracy of these reports, due to be published in the Spring.
      2. Training: as part of its £5bn education recovery funding, the Government has invested £153m in early years education to build a stronger, more expert workforce, enabling settings to deliver high quality teaching and help address the impact of the pandemic on the youngest children – particularly those in the most disadvantaged areas.
    3. Schools:
      1. Recruitment: the pandemic has generally had a positive impact on the national supply of teachers in the short term. The Department’s long-term evidence on teacher recruitment and retention shows that economic downturns temporarily and significantly improve the attractiveness of teaching as a profession, increasing the levels of recruitment to teacher training, and improving the retention of the existing workforce.
      2. The Department saw sharp increases in recruitment to initial teacher training in 2020/21, with 40,377 new entrants to teacher training courses compared to 33,799 in 2019/20. In 2021/22, there were 37,069 new entrants[13]. Similarly, teacher leaver rates fell from 9.4% in 2018/19 to 7.8% in 2019/20 (the lowest rate observed since the School Workforce Census was introduced in 2010)[14].
      3. Evidence from previous recessions suggests that the 2019/20 leaver rate was particularly low because some teachers who may have normally planned to leave service chose to stay in service due to uncertainty within the wider economy and jobs market. As with previous economic downturns, we expect that leaver rates will temporarily increase sharply during the post pandemic recovery, as some of those teachers who chose to delay their departure from service during the pandemic will leave.
      4. The substantial improvement in teacher retention was the most important driver in the growth in the school workforce we saw in 2020/21 (see paragraph 7). This was the largest year-on-year growth in the size of the workforce since the School Workforce Census was introduced in 2010.
      5. Training: given the lost learning which the pandemic has caused for pupils, the Government has funded £5bn on education recovery. This includes funding for 500,000 training opportunities for teachers at all stages of their career and early years practitioners£69 million to extend the rollout of the Early Career Framework reforms for teacher training in the first two years after qualification, and £184 million for middle and late-career National Professional Qualifications.
      6. Workload: in the early stages of the pandemic, some teachers reported reduced workload. However, this was temporary and from Autumn 2020, teacher workload returned to its previous level.[15] In February 2021, the majority of both leaders and teachers reported that their workload was less manageable than before the pandemic, with leaders significantly more likely to say this (65%, compared with 58% of teachers). Headteachers were the most likely to report their workload had become less manageable (71%).[16]
      7. Oak National Academy was created in rapid response to the coronavirus outbreak. Teachers and colleagues from leading education organisations came together to support schools’ efforts to keep children learning. More than 40,000 online learning resources have been developed across EYFS to Key Stage 4, including specialist content for pupils with SEND. The ability to set work for classes and individual pupils helps to reduce workload. Since its launch in April 2020, an average of 29,000 teachers have used the teacher hub each week.
      8. Teacher mental health and wellbeing: the pandemic led to a rise in anxiety and lower levels of happiness and life satisfaction compared to pre-pandemic levels for teachers. This was also the case for similar individuals in other professions.[17] In response, the Department funded a pilot, providing peer support and one-to-one supervision from experts to over 350 school leaders. This pilot led to the development of the longer-term programme referred to in paragraph 24.c.
    4. Further education: the FE workforce have been operating at high-intensity since the start of the pandemic, delivering business as usual provision, COVID-19 response and education recovery initiatives under difficult conditions. Feedback from the sector highlights concerns around staff burnout, longer working hours and increased workloads.
    5. Higher education: February 2022 stats from HESA[18] state that COVID impacts on workforce numbers were limited: “An initial analysis of the Staff data showed similar patterns to previous years and our analysis of Student data found limited impacts of COVID-19. We therefore decided not to undertake an in-depth analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on this year's Staff data.”
  2.         Brexit:
    1. Teaching: we continue to welcome talented individuals from overseas, including EEA and Swiss citizens, to teach or train to teach in England. In 2021/22, there were 30,323 postgraduate new entrants to ITT whose nationality was known (97% of all postgraduate new entrants). Of these, 93% were UK nationals, 4% were European Economic Area (EEA) nationals[19], and the remaining 2% were nationals of other countries. This compares with 5% EEA entrants and 2% nationals of other countries in 2020/21[20]. Special visa arrangements are in place for some health and education occupations, including teachers. As teaching is a highly skilled occupation, overseas teachers are eligible to apply for a skilled worker visa if they have the offer of job from a Home Office licenced employer and will be paid at least as much as the bottom teacher pay range. Paragraph 13.c notes the changes we are making to improve the recruitment of teachers from abroad.
    2. Children’s homes: the residential childcare sector has reported difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff, especially since Brexit and during the Covid pandemic. Jobs that are less stressful and pay similar rates (national living wage) in areas such as hospitality and retail are attractive and more available since Brexit.
    3. Further education: data on teachers and leaders in general and specialist FE colleges indicates that only a small percentage are non-UK nationals. For example, only 2% of teachers and leaders described themselves as Non-UK EU nationals in the 2018 College Staff Survey.[21] In 2021, new guidance was launched to support providers to understand the process for hiring non UK or Irish workforce post EU-Exit.[22]
    4. Higher education: 38,230 academic staff in 2020/21 were EU nationals. This compares with 38,410 in 2019/20, 38,080 in 2018/19, 37,255 in 2017/18 and 35,920 in 2016/17.[23]

Transforming existing workforce structures

Q11. Integrating public services can mean that they are delivered more effectively to users. What would be the outcomes of better integration between public services workforces?

  1.         Integrated public services are particularly important for ensuring that children who are vulnerable or disadvantaged get the support that they need. For example, for children with SEND, it is vitally important that health, education and care come together to deliver effective services and support based on individual need. However, even better integration between public services would lead to more family and child centred approaches.
  2.         A key priority for the SEND Review is to look to ensure that children and young people with SEND get the right support, in the right place, at the right time and improve outcomes and experiences, within a financially sustainable system. As part of the Review, we will look at what is needed to improve early intervention, make clearer the support and services everyone should be able to expect, and have funding and accountability systems in place which support this.
  3.         The two-year-old progress check in the Early Years Foundation Stage reviews a child’s level of development, focusing in particular on communication and language, physical development, and personal, social and emotional development. Between age two and three, health visitors review children’s physical development milestones as part of the universal Healthy Child Programme. Integrating the two-year-old progress check and the Healthy Child Programme check enables health and education professionals to work from a more complete picture of the child, ensuring early identification of children’s needs and appropriate intervention and support for children and their families. Early action to address identified needs is critical to the future progress and improved outcomes of all children.
  4.         Our reforms to the school system also have integration at their heart. For example, Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs) provide oversight and scrutiny of academy trusts’ performance, and draw together local partners to facilitate school improvement. This includes leaders from the education sector, Ofsted, local authorities, and local dioceses and other faith groups. RSCs also co-ordinate work across agencies in dedicated geographical areas in their Covid-19 response and recovery. Thanks to our school reforms and increased collaboration in the school system, we have seen a significant improvement in school standards across the country. 86% of schools are now rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’, compared to 68% in 2010.
  5.         We have also driven integration in the areas which need it most. In 2017, we established 12 Opportunity Areas (OAs) in some of the most disadvantaged areas of England. The OAs are working to raise educational outcomes and social mobility for children and young people. They bring together local public services and other key local partners, and work to improve schools and to build young people’s knowledge and skills, providing them the best advice and opportunities.
  6.         The Department is keen to support integration throughout all its work - particularly by thinking, acting and partnering much better locally. This requires us to organise ourselves in a way that is clear and makes sense to the stakeholders we work with. We are working to create a new Regions Group, aligned to the 9 regions used across the rest of government (North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, West Midlands, East Midlands, East of England, South East, South West and London) providing integrated delivery for schools and local authorities, including children’s social care and SEND.

Q12. How might voluntary and private sector workforces be involved in the delivery of integrated public services?

Q13. What are the barriers to achieving better workforce integration (including integration with the voluntary and private sectors), and how can any such barriers be overcome? How can leaders of public services drive and incentivise any cultural change necessary to achieve integration between organisations? Are there any examples of best practice?

  1.         We will answer questions 12 and 13 together.
  2.         Voluntary and private sector workforces are already heavily involved in some of our sectors – particularly Early Years (see paragraph 3.a) and further and higher education. Similarly, while the majority of children’s homes are run by the private sector, they already work closely with local authorities and children’s services to deliver a Looked After Child’s care plan.
  3.         In May 2018, the Department and the Independent Schools Council (ISC) agreed a joint understanding designed to expand the participation of independent schools, such as by encouraging schools to offer support targeted at children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Most of this support is delivered via the department’s ‘cross-sector partnerships programme’ which encourages independent schools to work with state schools across several activity areas, including but not limited to teacher development.
  4.         Several partnerships focus on joint training and other initiatives that support the development of teachers in both independent and state schools. For example, in 2003 local state and independent schools in Southwark, South East London set up a learning partnership to support students from in and around the London Borough. The partnership is now well established and growing, currently consisting of 3 independent schools and 12 state schools. The partnership aims to ensure that staff throughout its member schools collaborate with one another and are able to share best practice, exchange ideas and deliver joint projects. Recent examples of activities organised through the partnership include subject specific CPD for teachers, a shared programme of lectures for students, parents and teachers covering topics including art, economics, geography and pastoral care. The partnership is co-directed by the heads of one of the state and one of the independent schools and employs a part time co-ordinator to facilitate the work of the partnership.

Q14. What tools do good leaders use to incentivise and challenge their workforces to transform service delivery? Are there any examples of best practice?

  1.         Innovative practices are taking place across our sectors. For example, in local authorities, we are seeing measures that drive down agency rates and stabilise workforces. Guidance and examples of good practice are shared via the Local Government Association’s good practice hub[24], and our What Works Centre.[25]
  2.         In schools, examples of best practice include:
    1. Denbigh High School in the Chiltern Learning Trust, who have outlined how embracing digital opportunities has helped them change their approach to teaching.[26] The School is part of our EdTech Demonstrator Network, which offers peer-to-peer support to schools, trusts and colleges to use technology strategically and support digital capability to address areas such as whole-school improvement and reducing workload.[27]
    2. Dixons Academy Trust, which was identified as the sponsor for two local authority-maintained secondary schools in Liverpool which had been rated “Inadequate” by Ofsted. The trust worked actively in both schools for almost a year and provided staff training, established coaching and aligned processes with other Dixons academies. It also embedded new and improved routines for culture and instruction, as well as systems to improve attendance. The trust has worked hard to ensure that the changes have had a positive impact in the area, offering its support to school improvement more widely. In the school, staff have reported feeling supported with new learning routines and that there had been better behaviour from students.
  3.         Consistent high quality teaching cannot happen without excellent leadership. In order to support the entire leadership pipeline, DfE has updated the suite of National Professional Qualification (NPQs), and additional, tailored support is now available alongside the NPQ in Headship for those in their first two years of being a headteacher.

Q15. To what extent is public services workforce planning managed better at regional, sub-regional and local levels, rather than at the national level, and what mechanisms might enable more effective devolution of workforce planning? How can the Government train workforces to deliver more effectively those public services that are coordinated at the national level?

  1.         Local authorities have a range of responsibilities in education: they are responsible for ensuring sufficiency of school and childcare places and determining social work practice models. They must also publish a Local Offer, setting out in one place information about provision they expect to be available across education, health and social care for children and young people in their area who have SEN or are disabled, including those who do not have Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.
  2.         Leaders of schools, further education providers and higher education providers are similarly awarded high levels of autonomy, as they are best-placed to determine the workforce required to meet the needs of their pupils and students.
  3.         Sometimes, however, it can be helpful to act together in a broader area. For example, DfE’s Opportunity Areas programme has run a series of successful local projects that have increased teacher supply and quality in some of the more isolated areas of England, where recruitment was difficult. This has reduced the costs associated with advertising posts and paying for supply teachers. In the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area, around Scarborough, an innovative recruitment campaign filled 240 teacher and support role vacancies across 46 schools. We were particularly pleased that 44 of those vacancies were filled by people coming from outside of the area. This scheme has reducing spending and reliance on supply staff. Likewise, in the Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area, a Recruitment Incentives Grant helped recruit 79 teachers into 19 local schools by providing funding for training, development and resources.

Creating user-centred public services

Q16. Our previous inquiries have shown that public services are failing to deliver joined-up support that is centred on the user. What workforce barriers need to be overcome to bring about a more user-focused approach to public services delivery?

Q17. Users’ expectations of public services are changing rapidly. How, in your experience, have their expectations changed? What are the best ways to involve users in the design of public services, and what skills will public services workforces need in order to respond? For example, what skills will employees need to support users who expect more choice in the public services that they use?

  1.         We will answer questions 16 and 17 together.
  2.         As a department we are serious about our purpose – to help children and learners up and down the country to realise their potential. Our transformation programme, Future DfE, aims to ensure that we put children and learners first, and are data, evidence, and expertise driven. We encourage our delivery partners to do the same.
  3.         The Department is passionate about joining up our support to focus on users. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw some great examples of organisations responding to emerging user needs – for example, schools pivoting to remote education during the pandemic.
  4.         Nevertheless, organisations can face several barriers to ensuring that public services delivery is user-focused. These include:
    1. Capacity: giving organisations capacity to focus on the user helps enhance the user-centred approach. For example, our reforms to the Early Years Foundation Stage were designed to reduce workload (such as unnecessary paperwork), so that practitioners could spend more time with the children in their care and improve outcomes for children. User needs and feedback were also central to the creation of a new online platform to support practitioners in implementing the reforms.
    2. Capability: similarly, organisations need the capability to understand how to engage with users most effectively. The Department has invested in user research capability in recent years to support that.
    3. Joining policy with delivery: it is important that delivery considerations are at the heart of policy making, including regular engagement with users and experts and strong monitoring on the impacts of a change. Delivering joined-up results is another key transformation aim for the Department. We have been able to make progress on this in some areas – for example, on teacher services, where we undertook a systems-thinking based review of what education services should look like.[28]
  5.         Users’ expectations have raised rapidly over the last five years. We have observed a decrease in tolerance of poor user-experience, ease of finding content, ease of understanding how content has been updated, and fragmentation of services leading to wasted time. However, some users – particularly those who have performed the same role for a number of years – have adapted to outdated services and can resist change. Ideally, users will be involved in the codesign of services, and before that, the design of policies which the services are there to implement.


Annex A: Key data on DfE workforces

  1.         Children’s social work[29]: As at 30 September 2021:
    1. There were 32,500 full time equivalent (FTE) children and family social workers, up 2.0% from same point in 2020
    2. There were 5,980 FTE agency children and family social workers, up 2.9% from the same point in 2020
    3. The vacancy rate was 16.7%, up from 16.1% at the same point in 2020. There was considerable variation between regions – the North East had the lowest vacancy rate (8.7%), and London had the highest (23.5%).
    4. The average caseload was 16.3 cases per FTE social worker, the same as in 2020. 
    5. Of the 28,000 children and family social workers whose ethnicity is known, 77% were white, 13% were black, 6% were Asian, 4% had a Mixed ethnic background, and 1% had another ethnic background.
  2.         Early Years staff[30]:
    1. The total number of paid staff working in childcare and Early Years provision as estimated at 328,500 in 2021, down from 344,100 in 2019. Of those, 23,600 were temporary staff employed across group-based and school-based providers. In total, 27% of group-based providers and 31% of school-based providers reported employing temporary paid staff.
    2. Group-based and school-based providers reported that 97% of paid staff were female, with 99% of childminders identifying as female.
    3. Ethnicity of paid staff:


Group-based provider

School-based provider


White British




White ‘other’













  1.         Most childcare and Early Years staff (82% school-based, 80% group-based) were qualified to at least level 3 (A-Level equivalent). Almost a third (32%) of those in school-based settings were qualified to level 6 (degree level).
  2.         Teachers – initial teacher training[31]: In the 2021/22 academic year, there were:
    1. 37,069 new entrants to initial teacher training. This compares to 40,377 new entrants in 2020/21, and 33,799 in 2019/20.

Chart, line chart

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    1. This meant that we reached 136% of our ITT recruitment target for primary subjects, 82% for secondary subjects, and 88% for EBacc subjects in 2021/22.
    2. Of the 37,069 entrants to ITT in 2021/22, 31,233 were postgraduate entrants. Of those postgraduate entrants who declared their ethnic group, 79% were white, 11% Asian, 4% black, 3% mixed ethnicity, and 2% had another ethnic background[32]. This compares to 86%, 8%, 3%, 2% and 1% respectively of the population in England and Wales belonging to these ethnic groups, according to the 2011 Census.
    3. In 2021/22, 13% of postgraduate trainees declared a disability.
    4. In 2021/22, 28% of postgraduate trainees were male. Looking at the data by phase, 16% of primary postgraduate trainees were male compared to 39% of secondary postgraduate trainees.
  1.         Teachers and teaching assistants – existing workforce[33]:
    1. In November 2020, there were 461,088 FTE teachers, up 7,000 from the year before and by 20,000 since 2010.
    2. In November 2020, there were 271,370 FTE teaching assistants, up 6,000 from the year before.
    3. In 2020 the average salary of all teachers in state-funded schools was £41,800, an increase of 3.1% compared to 2019. Classroom teacher average salary was £38,400, Leadership teacher (excluding headteachers) average salary was £56,400, and Headteacher average salary was £73,500.
    4. 85% of teachers who qualified in 2019 were still teaching a year after qualification – a figure which has gradually declined since 2011. However, retention of teachers who qualified two or more years ago increased in 2020, a change to the gradual declines we have seen in recent years. Three in five teachers who qualified ten years ago are still teaching.
  2.         Further education teachers[34]:
    1. Across all FE colleges, the number of teachers is estimated at 60,930 in 2019/20, down from 61,630 the year before.
    2. We estimate that there are 31,000 teachers across independent training providers and adult and community learning providers. This data will be improved by our annual FE Workforce Data Collection, which becomes mandatory this year.[35]
    3. Half of FE college teachers (49%) who started in 2016 had left FE teaching after three years. The retention rate of FE teachers is worsening – analysis of the same data shows only 32% of FE teachers who started in 2000 left in the first three years.
  3.         Higher education[36]:
    1. There were 224,530 academic staff (excluding atypical) employed in the HE sector in Dec 2020, up less than 1% from 223,525 on 1 Dec 2019. There were 191,440 non-academic staff employed in the HE sector at the same time, down from 196,210 the previous year.
    2. 151,920 academic staff are employed on permanent/open-ended contracts and 72,610 on fixed term contracts. 38,230 academic staff are EU nationals.


February 2022


[1] Childcare and early years providers survey: 2021 - GOV.UK (

[2] Share your skills and teach in further education - Teach in further education - (

[3] [Withdrawn] Step up to social work - GOV.UK (

[4] Frontline (

[5] Evidence review: The effects of high-quality professional development on teachers and students - Education Policy Institute (

[6] Initial teacher training (ITT) market review - GOV.UK (

[7] Initial Teacher Training Census, Academic Year 2021/22 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (

[8] Over half (57%) of school senior leaders surveyed reported that flexible working had helped to retain staff who would otherwise leave the role. Over a third (37%) strongly agreed that they would personally be more likely to remain in the profession long-term if they were able to work flexibly. CooperGibson Research (2019) ‘Exploring Flexible Working Practices in Schools’: interim report, available at: Exploring flexible working practice in schools - interim report (


[9] Initial Teacher Training Census, Academic Year 2021/22 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK ( The number of trainees with unknown ethnicity increased to 3,231 in 2021/22 from 1,710 in 2020/21, and 1,611 from 2019/20.

[10] Population of England and Wales - GOV.UK Ethnicity facts and figures (

[11] Childcare and early years providers survey: 2021 - GOV.UK (

[12] Ethnicity and National Identity in England and Wales - Office for National Statistics (

[13] Initial Teacher Training Census, Academic Year 2021/22 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (

[14] School workforce in England, Reporting Year 2020 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (

[15] Teacher labour market in England – annual report 2021 (

[16] COVID-19 Snapshot panel Findings from the late February survey (

[17] Teacher labour market in England – annual report 2021 (

[18] Higher Education Staff Statistics: UK, 2020/21 | HESA

[19] EEA National: here relates to individuals with a European Union, European Economic Area or included in the single market – this includes Swiss nationality. The UK is not included in these figures.

[20] Initial Teacher Training Census, Academic Year 2021/22 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (

[21] College Staff Survey 2018 (

[22] Recruit further education (FE) teachers from overseas - GOV.UK (

[23] Higher Education Staff Statistics: UK, 2020/21 | HESA

[24] Case studies | Local Government Association

[25] What Works for Children's Social Care (

[26] Embracing technology in school has changed how we teach - Teaching (

[27] EDTECH Demonstrator Programme (

[28] Innovating public services at scale - Public Policy Design (

[29] Children's social work workforce, Reporting Year 2021 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (

[30] Main summary: survey of childcare and early years providers 2021 ( The total number of paid staff excludes apprentices but includes temporary staff, those who were on furlough at the time the survey was conducted and those who were self-isolating.

[31] Initial Teacher Training Census, Academic Year 2021/22 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (

[32] Other ethnicity includes Arab and Other ethnic background.

[33] Initial Teacher Training Census, Academic Year 2021/22 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (

[34] FE_college_workforce_analysis_tables.xlsx

[35] Education and Training Professionals Survey, 2020

[36] Higher Education Staff Statistics: UK, 2020/21 | HESA