Following the publication of a report on teacher training by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, Imran has warned that the lack of a coherent plan by the government to address teacher shortages is putting progress made on educational attainment in the city at risk.
The report warns that whilst the government has missed the targets to fill teacher recruitment places nationally for the last 4 years, they have no coherent plan on how to achieve them in coming years, with areas with low academic performance struggling to recruit much-needed teaching staff.
Bradford is one of these areas with low academic performance having been ranked as one of the lowest districts in the Yorkshire and Humber region with just 45.5% of pupils achieving 5+ ‘Good’ GCSEs with English and Maths included, compared to the Yorkshire and Humber average of 55.1% and the England average of 53.8%. However, the district received praise last year from Ofsted who identified the Council’s new direction as a cause of optimism.
Particular failings by the government which were identified in the report included the Department of Education relying centrally on national data to identify whether there were teacher shortages and a lack of evidence that their bursary schemes were leading to success. Consequently, Imran has argued that the Department for Education needs to collect data on vacancy rates at local and school level to better inform their decisions and provide targeted solutions, and needs to reevaluate the evidence that teaching bursaries are used in the best way.
Speaking on the Public Accounts Committee’s report on teacher training, Imran said:
“In recent months, educational attainment has been making steady progress across the district, and just recently I was at Bankfoot Primary School to celebrate Ofsted awarding them an ‘Outstanding’ rating, having previously been marked as requiring improvement. However, it is clear to me and head teachers that the lack of a coherent plan by the government for recruiting new teachers is putting this progress at risk.
“When speaking with Ministers they argue that the bursary scheme will attract talented teaching graduates in subject areas where there is a substantial shortage, such as in physics or maths, but the evidence presented in the Public Accounts Committee’s report suggests the contrary and that it isn’t value for money. Whilst it may aid in getting new teachers into schools, it does not necessarily look at getting them into the right schools where they are needed, and it is urgent that the government looks at this.”