Education Secretary Phillipson starts drive to recruit 6,500 new teachers

Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson has launched a major initiative to recruit 6,500 teachers, the Department for Education (DfE) has announced.

In an effort to “reset the relationship” with the education sector, Phillipson will address all education workforces on Monday and meet with union leaders and other key figures in the coming days.

The government will also reinstate and expand the Every Lesson Shapes a Life recruitment campaign, which guides potential candidates to the Get Into Teaching website. The site provides support and advice from teacher training advisers, a contact centre, and a national programme of events.

Labour, during its election campaign, committed to making the recruitment of 6,500 teachers a top priority. The new posts are expected to be funded by imposing taxes on private school fees, although the exact timeline for this policy remains unclear. This proposal, included in Labour’s manifesto, has sparked debate, with some viewing it as a fair revenue-raising measure, while others argue it unfairly targets parents.

Phillipson expressed her determination to elevate education to a central national concern and improve the perception of the teaching profession. The DfE emphasised that these efforts are crucial to addressing the current teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

Phillipson stated that her immediate priority is to reconnect with the education workforce, highlighting that the teaching profession has been “talked down, sidelined, and denigrated” for too long. Relations between teaching unions and the previous government were strained, leading to multiple strikes over pay last year.

While the 2024/25 pay offer for teachers has yet to be announced, unions have expressed optimism about Phillipson’s appointment. Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), stressed the importance of rebuilding trust between ministers and teachers, hoping for a period of stability and seriousness under Phillipson’s leadership. He urged the new Education Secretary to promptly publish the pay and funding offer to correct the “first of many wrongs” of the former government.

Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), congratulated Phillipson on her new role but cautioned about the significant challenges ahead. He affirmed NAHT’s readiness to collaborate with the new government and looked forward to working with Phillipson and her team in the coming years.

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