by Kaye Wiggins, TES Connect: https://news.tes.co.uk/b/news/2015/03/31/teacher-dropout-rate-has-soared-conference-hears.aspx
Almost two-fifths of teachers drop out within a year after finishing
their training, as “bright-eyed” trainees realise teaching is “no career
to enter”, a conference has heard.
Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL teaching union, told the
organisation's annual conference in Liverpool today that almost 11,000
qualified teachers had never entered the profession.
According to the ATL's analysis of government figures, in 2011,
around 38% of teachers were not in teaching a year after gaining
qualified teaching status (QTS) - either never entering the profession
in the first place or leaving after just 12 months. This compared to 20% in 2005.
The ATL’s analysis found the number failing to take up a teaching
post had almost trebled in the past six years. The figures show that
10,800 of those who qualified in 2011 did not go into teaching, compared
to 3,600 in 2005.
“Why are we losing the next generation of teachers, that new blood
for the profession which should be bright-eyed and bushy tailed, full of
promise and ambition?” she said.
“Is it, I wonder, because trainee and newly qualified teachers see
very early on just what teaching has become and decide that they do not
want to be a part of it? Is it that they learn as they work with
exhausted and stressed colleagues that teaching has become a profession
which is incompatible with a normal life?”
During her speech Dr Bousted said Ofsted was “beset with internal and
external cracks” and suffered a “credibility chasm”, with teachers
having little confidence in inspection teams.
She said inspections should instead be carried out by locally-based
teams made up of teachers and school leaders. These inspections would be
“targeted at those curriculum areas which need improvement”, she said.
Dr Bousted said that under this system a national agency would “guard
against cosy consensus” and intervene if such a consensus developed.
She launched an attack on the qualifications agency Ofqual, claiming it was staffed by “fundamentalists” who “worship the exam”.
“Ofqual is a seeker of certainty,” she said. “Certainty that the
timed written exam can assess a subject’s core knowledge, certainty that
the grades awarded by exam boards are accurate and reliable, certainty
that written exams can assess practical skills such as speaking and
listening in English, or laboratory work in science.”
She said a “tsunami” of curriculum and qualification changes
“threatens to engulf schools and colleges as Ofqual marches on, leaving
dismay and devastation in its wake.”
Dr Bousted used her speech to call for greater accountability for
schools, warning that the academies programme had reduced oversight and
left “too many schools unsupported and in free-fall”.
She cited a report by the Public Accounts Committee, published last
month, which found that 18 academy chains had been prevented from
expanding further because of the concerns about the standards in those
“In essence, our education system is being run on a wing and a prayer
- and if something goes badly wrong, the government relies upon someone
being brave enough to speak out. Who knows what else is going on under
the radar?” she said.
“Our education system is crying out for a middle tier - a locally-based, democratically accountable body which provides oversight and
support to schools and gives parents and pupils a place to go when they
have issues or concerns, in particular concerns about school admissions
and school standards,” she said.