Policy and practice round-up January 2019

31 January 2019

This month we bring you news of the new Department for Education teacher Recruitment and Retention strategy and new teacher Early Career Framework; the school snapshot survey showing how accountability and funding is really impacting the school curriculum; Nesta school resources on the future of skills and the launch of the Arts Council England 25 year talent pipeline research.

DfE Teacher Recruitment and Retention strategy

Teacher retention and recruitment is a big issue for the Department for Education (DfE).

DfE statistics show that 33% of teachers leave the profession within five years of joining it. For the past five years teacher recruitment targets have not been met in most subjects, including in all the arts subjects. In 2018 73% of the Art & Design target were recruited, 72% of Music and 25% of Design & Technology (see table 1c in Main tables: initial teacher training trainee number census 2018 to 2019 for more details.) There is also an increase in pupils on the way, with 15% more secondary school students predicted by 2025 than are currently in England’s secondary schools.

To address the problem the new Recruitment and Retention strategy sets out four priorities:

  1. Create the right climate for leaders to establish supportive school cultures
  2. Transforming support for early career teachers
  3. Support a career offer that remains attractive to teachers as their careers and lives develop
  4. Make it easier for great people to become teachers

Reform of the accountability system

DfE plans to reform the accountability system. They want to simplify the system by making ‘requires improvement’ the sole trigger for an offer of support, and replacing floor and coasting standards. DfE is also ‘committed to a period of greater curriculum, assessment and qualification stability for the duration of this parliament. Beyond those already announced, there will be:

  • No additional statutory tests or assessment for primary schools;
  • No further changes to the national curriculum; and
  • No more reform of GCSEs or A-levels.’

Local offer packages

They also announced they would be working with ‘schools, MATs, and local authorities in challenging areas, to develop attractive “local offer” packages to increase teacher recruitment and retention locally’.

Arts & Culture Lead role as part of local offers?

The CLA has long advocated for every school to have an Arts & Culture Co-ordinator or Lead. An existing member of teaching staff given responsibility for partnerships with local cultural organisations and artists, and reporting to governors on the quality of their school’s arts and heritage provision. This Co-ordinator would be treated like a high-level donor by local arts organisations and given tickets to private views and first nights. We believe this could form part of the ‘local offer’ packages schools offer to retain teachers.

Phased bursaries

Currently initial teacher trainees receive bursaries in a wide range of subjects, although not in all arts subjects. DfE plans to reform bursaries, moving to providing retention payments in the third and fifth years of teaching.

DfE has produced a helpful one page summary of the strategy for schools which you can download.

Early Career Framework

Launched at the same time as the Recruitment and Retention Strategy, and forming part of the work to tackle priority two’ Transforming support for early career teachers’, the DfE is introducing and Early Career Framework (ECF).

From Autumn 2021, early career teachers will receive two years of fully funded professional development and support, underpinned by the ECF.

To provide time for Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) to work through all aspects of the framework, NQT status will now run for two years. Salaries will be unaffected by the change. The new framework will be in place from September 2021.

The ECF has five key areas: behaviour management; pedagogy; curriculum; assessment; and professional behaviours. Support will include mentoring and subject specialist training and resources.

We look forward to hearing more about the promised subject specialist training and resources, and clarification as to whether the mentoring offer will include subject specialist mentors.

How accountability and funding is really impacting the school curriculum

The DfE published the Summer 2018 School Snapshot Survey on Monday 28 January. The results are drawn from 758 interviews with school leaders and 1,040 interviews with classroom teachers.

Secondary school leaders and teachers were asked: 'How important are the following factors when making decisions about curriculum planning at your secondary school', and then given a range of options.

Their answers show the huge impact funding has on curriculum provision, as well as the availability of teachers. Interestingly Progress 8 was ranked as far more important than the EBacc when making decisions, although of course the EBacc is the core of Progress 8.

'How important are the following factors when making decisions about curriculum planning at your secondary school?'


Percentage of teachers who said it was important or very important (scoring it a 7 or higher in a scale of 1 to 10)

Specific learning needs of each cohort / year level




Availability or expertise of teaching staff


Progress 9


Attainment 9






Additionally, the survey shows up some key weaknesses in delivery of the EBacc. Only 52% of schools believed they would have the teaching capacity to deliver the government’s aim of 75% of students studying EBacc eligible GCSE subjects by 2022. Schools Week has looked in depth at the details of this, including how schools with the highest numbers of pupils on Free School Meals were the least likely to be able to offer the EBacc.

Primary School teachers were also asked similar questions about curriculum planning; interestingly funding and teacher supply were ranked as less important than accountability measures. This could of course reflect that teacher supply is a greater problem at secondary level than primary, with primary initial teacher education more often meeting targets for recruitment, while for the past five years the targets for secondary teacher training recruitment have not been met.

‘How important are the following factors when you make decisions about curriculum planning at your primary school?’


Percentage of teachers who said it was important or very important (scoring it a 7 or higher in a scale of 1 to 10)

Specific learning needs of each cohort / year level


Progress measures


Attainment measures


Availability or expertise of teaching staff


Statutory assessments




There were no specific questions about arts subjects in the survey.

One for School Careers Leaders: Nesta school resources on the future of skills

Nesta, in partnership with Young Citizens (an education charity working to help educate, inspire and motivate the active citizens of tomorrow) has launched The future of work: classroom lesson plan.

The resource is designed to equip upper Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 students with the latest information about the changing world of work, and the skills that are likely to be in demand in the future, using evidence from the Nesta The future of skills: Employment in 2030 research.

Since September 2018 schools have had a statutory requirement to deliver careers advice using the eight Gatsby Benchmarks. (It is worth noting in the snapshot survey above that 94% of schools reported they had a designated Careers Lead – one of the new statutory requirements from September 2018.)

This new resource can help schools deliver three of the benchmarks:

  • A stable careers programme
  • Learning from career and labour market information
  • Linking curriculum learning to careers

25 year talent pipeline research launched

Arts Council England and De Montfort University launched the Talent25 project on 25 January, the second phase of their 25 year talent pipeline programme which aims to better understand the impacts of engaging in arts and culture in childhood.

Researchers are following children born in Leicester over the first 25 years of their lives. Talent25 will focus on work with 0-4 year olds from 2019-21. 100 babies and their families have been recruited from Leicester.

The programme has at its heart the aim improving opportunity and access for every child to arts and culture. As Darren Henley, Chief Executive Arts Council England said introducing the project:

‘Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not.  

Every child has the capacity to be creative and opportunities to realise this potential should be equally available. We hope that Talent25 will help us to better understand what might make a difference to young people’s talent development and cultural engagement.’

You can read more about Talent25 on the De Montfort University website and in the Guardian.