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Significant challenges for teacher recruitment and retention

Aug 25, 2020

The Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel has today published the findings of its review into teacher recruitment and retention in the Island. The review was conducted in order to establish the factors affecting the recruitment and retention of teachers after concerning figures relating to teaching vacancies were provided to the Panel by the Minister for Education in June 2019 at a public hearing.

The key findings are as follows:

  • A lack of clear data in relation to teacher recruitment and retention, including an ineffective exit interview process and the need for an improved recruitment process and Human Resources support.
  • Cost of living in the Island was identified as especially challenging for those being recruited from overseas, with the relocation package offered to teachers also identified as a factor in this.
  • A lack of part-time and job share opportunities available to teachers and lecturers was found to be a challenge, particularly affecting those with young children.
  • Teachers face high levels of scrutiny and an unsustainable workload, which included a significant number of tasks that were not directly related to teaching. This includes an average working week of 60 hours for a teacher.
  • A lack of funding for the education system, which also contributed to the increased workload and additional pressures being faced by teachers and lecturers.

In response to these findings the Panel has made several recommendations to address these issues, including the following:

  • An improved exit interview process to help gather more detailed data in relation to the reasons why teachers are leaving the profession or the Island.
  • Better support for Head Teachers in creating further flexibility for staff wishing to take on part-time and job share arrangements.
  • An urgent revaluation by the Department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills on the aims of teacher performance. This includes the level of scrutiny of their role, increased business support for schools with the aim of freeing up teachers from undertaking tasks indirectly related to their role.
  • The identification of clear, long-term actions to reduce teacher workload. 
  • The Minister for Education to implement and fund the recommendations from the independent school funding review by January 2021.

If adopted, the Panel believes that these recommendations would help lead to an increased retention in teachers and teaching staff in the Island, benefiting children and adults in education.

Deputy Rob Ward, Chair of the Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel commented: ‘‘The Panel recognises the immense hard work and dedication of Teachers and Lecturers in Jersey and thanks everyone who works to educate our children and young people.

“There is a fundamental belief that children and young people should be taught by teachers who are valued and have genuine access to opportunities that help them develop as professionals. We have concluded that in order to achieve this there must be greater recognition of the value of the profession to our Island and significant increases in funding within education are needed to support this. We also urgently need to re-examine the culture within education, which we find has created barriers to teachers and lecturers delivering their key objective of providing children and young people with an inspirational education.”

The review was launched in September 2019, however the publication of the findings has been delayed due to COVID-19.

Specialist research agency, 4insight were commissioned by the panel to consult with around 40 Teachers in focus groups. The Panel also consulted with Head Teachers, the Education Unions and the Minister for Education to understand their views. The Panel placed on record its thanks to everyone that took part in the focus groups, those that provided submissions and 4insight for managing and delivering the focus groups on its behalf.

Full Report

Scrutiny News Release.

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