Teacher quality is widely accepted to be one of the most important factors in determining pupil attainment, particularly for disadvantaged pupils. An adequate supply of effective teachers is central to ensuring high educational standards, but England is currently experiencing teacher shortages that are likely to worsen in the coming years if left unaddressed.
Challenges to the supply of quality teachers are particularly acute in secondary schools, which is where the disadvantage gap is widest.
The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have all pledged to increase teacher pay, with Labour’s commitment being the most generous. The Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties have additionally committed to improving pay for early career teachers. However, there is no explicit mention of targeted pay incentives where retention and recruitment issues are most challenging.
The only party with a pledged focus on improving the quality of teachers is the Liberal Democrat Party. Their commitment to introduce a formalised CPD entitlement, particularly the offer targeted at teachers without qualifications beyond A level in their taught subject, is the only explicit mention of targeting recruitment challenges in specific subject areas.
The measures proposed by Labour, the Liberal Democrat and Green parties to change the focus of teachers’ work through reforming accountability and assessment are all focused within primary schools and therefore are not targeted at where the recruitment and retention issues are most acute.
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