Teacher retention and recruitment
7. Mr Tomlinson's Commentary in his Annual Report
for 1999-2000 stated that "urgent action is more than ever
needed on the recruitment and retention of teachers, as the Government
plainly acknowledges ... progress made in raising standards is
at risk unless current trends are reversed and gaps filled with
In his evidence to the Sub-committee, Mr Tomlinson confirmed that
"the situation has worsened in recent months" since
the year under review in his Annual Report:
"What is clear from
the data we have is that the issue of recruitment and retention
was becoming one that was taxing schools and its effects were
already beginning to be seenas I drew attention to them
in my report. For example, we were seeing many more supply teachers
in schools and many of course being deployed in the early stages
in secondary schools of Key Stage 3, between the ages of 11 and
14. We are also, for the first time, seeing an increase in the
mismatch between the subject or subjects a teacher was teaching
and their qualifications and experience. Again, a symptom of the
likely fact that headteachers are having to redeploy some staff
and therefore ask people perhaps to do things which they are not
as strong in teaching as they might be".
8. Mr Tomlinson recognised that concerns about teacher
shortages tend to come to the fore at a similar point in the economic
cycle, but in his view "this particular cycle is more difficult
and more complex than the previous one, so I think it is an important
and serious problem".
Mr Tomlinson told the Sub-committee that performance-related pay
for teachers was "important but not the be-all and end-all"
OFSTED would be collecting and analysing data from the threshold
assessors on whether performance-related pay was being applied
sensibly, but there was no evidence at this early stage that headteachers
were not applying the systems in place conscientiously and effectively.
9. Mr Tomlinson expressed worry that if these problems
were not tackled vigorously "it might well put at risk all
the important and substantial gains that have been made in recent
He called for serious consideration of the question of how to
ensure the supply of teachers in the future:
"We have to get a real
hold on the whole issue of the supply side of the profession".
We share the HMCI's concerns that much of the
progress made in recent years could be put at risk if the problems
of teacher recruitment and retention are not tackled in a comprehensive
and innovative way.
10. Mr Taylor told the Sub-committee that, because
comparative salaries presented an intractable problem, "we
have got to make sure that teaching is a profession that has other
attractions to get in the best graduates".
He pointed out that "forty per cent of those who start teacher
training never make it to the classroom".
Mr Tomlinson said that this figure was "very worrying"
although it had always been quite high.
At the time he gave evidence to the Sub-
committee, Mr Tomlinson had no evidence on the effectiveness
of the £6,000 training salary on
the supply of teachers,
nor on whether shortage subject bursaries had been successful.
We recommend that in its Annual Report for 2001-02 OFSTED should
report specifically on the effects of teacher shortage and subject
11. Mr Tomlinson's Commentary stated that "the
Government has signalled its determination to reduce bureaucracy,
and OFSTED will continue to look for ways of cutting back on the
administrative demands of inspection. Teachers must be able to
teach and leaders to lead. We owe this to our teachers and to
His message to the Sub-committee was that "all of us concerned
with education are putting too much bureaucratic and administrative
burden upon schools and we need to reduce it wherever we have
any responsibility for that".
OFSTED recognised that it also needed to make its contribution
by reducing the bureaucratic demands of inspection.
While recognising that some paperwork, such as that concerned
with target setting, was actually helpful to schools, who often
wished to be included in consultation exercises, for example,
Mr Tomlinson acknowledged that "we have not found [the] right
balance at the moment".
He agreed that more could be done to spread best practice in use
of IT to cut down the amount of paperwork. Work was being done
with the DfEE and the Cabinet Office to produce a universal system
of document classification to give schools a clear indicator of
the importance of documents and the kind of response that was
being required of them.
Mr Taylor pointed out that teachers generally lacked the administrative
or logistical support normal in almost every other profession.
We welcome OFSTED's recognition of the part that it can play
in reducing the bureaucratic demands made on schools. We recommend
that Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools should report on
the progress he has made in this area in his Annual Report for