COMMENT: Importance of teaching must beÂ reflectedÂ
Seven years ago teaching was the number one choice for graduates. Now it's not even in the top 10. So what has happened in that time to make a career in teaching so unappealing that Portsmouth is now facing a recruitment and retainment crisis?
According to teaching unions, the answer is simple '“Â workload. Â
Real term salary cuts, curriculum change, budget pressures and ever-increasing accountability have all had an effect. But it's workload that always comes out as the top reason for people growing disillusioned and leaving the classroom. Â
So is it really surprising that so few want to join the profession where there is an exodus of existing staff? Â
The figures don't lie. There has been a regional 10 per cent fall in the numbers enrolling on teacher training courses, with far higher figures in core subjects such as maths and English. In design and technology, course applicants haveÂ dropped by 67 per cent.
It's not just teaching posts that are proving hard to fill. Recruitment of headteachers is also an issue. One city school had to put out four separate adverts before getting any credible applications.
The big fear is that, at a time when attracting and keeping teachers is a struggle, primary school numbers are going up, which willÂ lead to an increased secondary population.Â Who will teach them all? Â
We have to do more to make teaching more attractive to newcomers, while also retaining experienced teachers.
Teachers play such an important role in society and that has to be reflected in how they are treated and valued.
Teach Portsmouth Week, which takes place on October 1-5 and celebrates teaching in the city with an awards ceremony, is a good start. But what is really needed is a fundamental change in the way teachers are regarded and rewarded in this country. Â Â Â