Cuts are forcing teachers out of the classroom: sparking a reliance on expensive consultants for expertise and endless rounds of recruitment.
We often hear of the teacher recruitment crisis, but that’s putting the cart before the horse. The real issue is retention. Until that’s been addressed, what’s the point of recruiting, only for teachers to leave? Squeezed budgets are leading to the loss of support staff – from teaching assistants to admin support – and swelling class sizes. This is adding to an already punishing workload, putting even more pressure on teachers who are already struggling to cope.
I’ve been concerned about the loss of experience from the classroom, and schools are increasingly shunning experience by advertising jobs specifically for newly or recently qualified staff, or for teachers on the main pay scale only. Some are saving money by ‘encouraging’ – in some cases by unethical means – experienced teachers to leave. Obviously schools then have to mitigate the loss of accrued knowledge and expertise, perhaps by turning to expensive ‘consultants’ or adding to the ranks of ‘advisors’. It’s also a false economy in the sense that in the current climate recently qualified teachers are more likely to leave teaching altogether, meaning another expensive recruitment process.