National Teaching Service dropped, government confirms
A scheme to recruit good teachers to work in deprived areas has been dropped, the government has confirmed.
The National Teaching Service was announced by England’s then Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, in 2015.
The plan was for 1,500 outstanding teachers and leaders to be deployed by 2020 “to the schools that need them most”, with a pilot in the North West.
But following the pilot “we can confirm that we will not be progressing”, said a Department for Education spokesman.
The original plan was to send “the country’s best teachers and leaders to underperforming schools that struggle to attract and retain the professionals they need”, according to a speech made by Mrs Morgan to the Policy Exchange think-tank in November 2015.
The initiative was part of a government plan “to give every child an excellent education”.
“Too many places are lagging behind, meaning young people in these areas are not being given a fair shot,” said the government at the time.
NTS staff would work with schools for a period of up to three years in a bid to drive up standards.
An initial pilot was launched to enlist up to 100 teachers and leaders to work in primary and secondary schools in the North West from September 2016.
But according to the Times Educational Supplement, just 54 teachers were recruited after only 116 applied.
The government says the pilot was launched “to test the concept of how a National Teaching Service could work”.
“We are pleased with the level of interest in the pilot and the calibre of the successful candidates,” said a Department for Education spokesman.
“However, following a review of the outcomes, we can confirm that we will not be progressing with the further rollout of the National Teaching Service
“We recognise that it is vitally important that schools, particularly in challenging areas, can recruit and retain excellent teachers, and we are determined to continue to support them to do this.
“We will use the lessons learnt from the pilot to secure a better understanding of to support schools in the future, and will set out future plans in due course.”
On Thursday, Ofsted’s annual report highlighted serious problems in recruiting teachers and school leaders, particularly in northern England, where, it said, heads were reporting an “auction” for teachers.
Labour’s shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, said Ofsted’s verdict on the government’s teacher recruitment record was “damning”.
“We now learn that they’ve are scrapping the much lauded National Teaching Service after just a year,” she said.
“Last week, we learnt that the Tories have missed their recruitment target for the fifth year in row.
“And last year, the highest number of teachers left the profession in a decade.”
“The chronic teacher shortage continues to threaten standards under the Tories, and they are completely failing to take this crisis seriously.”