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Category: States of Jersey

Education Minister Working to Support Schools

Jan 13, 2023

The Minister for Children and Education has today released details of work being done to support staffing in the Island’s schools. This includes short term measures to support teaching vacancies, and longer-term planning to respond to a shortage of trainee and specialist teachers in the UK, where many Jersey teachers qualify.

In Jersey, the current vacancy rate for teachers and for teaching assistants in schools is 4.13%. 

Vacancy numbers includes roles that have been newly created, as well as existing jobs that are currently unoccupied. 

To fill vacancies in the short term, 11 UK supply teachers have begun teaching this term across secondary and primary schools. The supply teachers will provide cover following an increase in staff absence due to a range of winter illnesses, as well as to backfill for staff who are currently taking parental leave. 

All the supply teachers are UK-qualified, and many have decades of professional experience. They will provide cover for up to two terms. Given the short-term nature of their contracts, they will be housed in short-term accommodation, to avoid more expensive hotel costs.

In the long term, work is ongoing to train, recruit, and retain and upskill school staff. This includes developing new ways of attracting and assessing potential teachers and teaching assistants; improving the induction for new teaching staff; providing funding for professional development, including £1.3 million in 2023.

In addition, more teachers are being trained on-Island via the Jersey Graduate Teacher Training Programme (JGTTP). Last year, 23 trainee teachers enrolled on the programme, up from roughly eight per year between 2011 and 2021.

Applications for this year’s cohort will open later this month, and the scheme is expected to recruit at least 20 trainee teachers, some of whom will be teaching in Island schools from September 2023.

Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Inna Gardiner, said: “I recognise that we are facing real pressures in school staffing, due to lots of different factors coming together. 

“Locally, schools and colleges are dealing with the impact of a range of winter illness including colds and flu, Scarlet Fever and COVID-19. In addition, school staff are rightly making use of longer periods of parental leave to spend time with their children in those vital early days. I’m pleased to see so many parents taking up this offer, and I acknowledge that staffing in schools and colleges will need time to adjust to this change.

“While this is a worrying combination of factors, I want to reassure parents and students that we are ensuring that all students are taught by qualified teachers while retaining the smaller classroom sizes that are so valued.

“I set out staff recruitment and retention as a priority in my Ministerial Plan for 2023 because this is a large, complex issue. There isn’t one solution to this issue, although we are making a start. I will continue to work with schools and officers to make sure that we have the teaching staff we need.”

Government of Jersey News Release

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