DfE takes on recruitment duties as NCTL closure announced

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

​The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) is to be closed in April, with the Department for Education (DfE) to take over its teacher recruitment duties.

Regulation of the teaching profession, meanwhile, is to be passed over to a new executive agency of the DfE, to be known as the Teaching Regulation Agency. This includes responsibility for misconduct hearings.

The decision comes after the DfE unveiled plans to run pilot recruitment programmes in 25 areas across England that will see student loan payments reimbursed for teachers of modern foreign languages and the sciences in the early years of their careers.

It also comes after education secretary Justine Greening officially opened the new Institute for Teaching (IfT), a specialist graduate school for teachers to support their continued training and development.

Speaking about the DfE taking on the NCTL’s recruitment duties, schools standards minister Nick Gibb said: “We need to continue to attract the best and brightest into the profession, and to support their development throughout their careers. Bringing these teams together within the DfE will enable us to build on the work already underway to invest in the profession and better support teachers in the classroom.”

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the recruitment challenges facing the DfE were clear: “There is an on-going crisis in teacher supply which is causing schools across the country great difficulties in putting teachers in front of classes in several subjects. This situation is hampering our attempts to raise standards further and is causing real damage to the schools which are most badly affected.

“Recently there has certainly been progress in improving the teacher supply model – which predicts the number of teachers that are needed each year. It is vital the Department for Education now builds on that work and improves it further to make sure that we have sufficient high-quality teachers in place to cope with a predicted increase of 492,000 pupils in English schools by 2022.

“We think it is also essential that the DfE works closely with the teaching profession to develop a strategy which attracts more people into teaching and then provides them with better structured career development to help improve retention rates.

“To this end we would ultimately like to see the professional qualifications for teachers and school leadership developed and owned by the profession itself rather than by the government.”

Meanwhile, the IfT has received government funding from the £75 million Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund is to offer “knowledge and skills-based” training courses for teachers at all stages of their careers. The DfE sees the move as part of its efforts to boost recruitment and retention.

The IfT will operate mainly in the North and Central England, including in the government’s 12 so-called “Opportunity Areas”, which are areas that have been identified as social mobility “cold-spots” and as such are a specific priority for ministers.

Ms Greening said: “I want high-quality professional development to be a fundamental part of a teacher’s career and these new programmes – backed by government funding – will give them the skills, confidence and knowledge they need to provide a world class education for all children.”

Director of the IfT, Matt Hood said: “Having an expert teacher in every classroom is the best way to make sure that every pupil, regardless of their background, gets a great education. But teaching is complex – becoming an expert isn’t easy. To improve teaching, we have to improve the training teachers get because most of what’s out there isn’t helping them to get better.”


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