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Teachers’ Morale

Volume 615: debated on Monday 10 October 2016

We want motivated, enthusiastic teachers in our schools, and the latest OECD teaching and learning international survey reported that 82% of the teachers surveyed in England agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with their job. We recognise the challenges for the profession, however, such as unnecessary workload, which we continue to address. The latest official statistics show that teacher retention rates one year after qualification have remained stable at around 90% for 20 years. In 2010, 70% of teachers were still teaching five years later, and more than 60% of teachers remained in the classroom 10 years after qualifying.

I am grateful for that answer, but is it not the case that 40% of teachers leave within the first five years, and why is that?

The figures are not dissimilar to those in other professions. We realise that there are workload challenges, which was why we set up the workload challenge in 2014. There were 44,000 responses, which we analysed carefully. Three top issues were raised: dialogic deep marking, data collection and the preparation of lessons. We addressed all three issues by setting up three working parties, led and staffed by experienced teachers and headteachers. They reported and made recommendations, which we accepted, and action has now been taken.

Thousands of EU nationals across the UK play key roles in children’s education, be it as classroom assistants, teachers, janitors or cleaners. We cannot overestimate how morale is affected by xenophobic rhetoric such as we heard last week at the Tory party conference. Does the Minister agree that it is time to do the right thing and give a solid guarantee that EU nationals can remain and contribute to our children’s education?

The Prime Minister has made it very clear that we expect all EU nationals resident in the UK to remain here, but of course that depends on reciprocal arrangements for British citizens living in other EU countries.

Despite the Minister’s earlier response, the Education Policy Institute has shown how excessive hours are driving record numbers of teachers from the profession, including friends and former colleagues of mine. NASUWT has found that half of teachers have been to see a doctor in the past year due to work-related illness, and one in 10 have been prescribed antidepressants. We know that the Minister is on the record as not valuing those of us with the postgraduate certificate in education, but can he not see that the Government’s failure to support teachers is at the heart of the crisis in teachers’ morale?

I welcome the hon. Gentleman to the Education shadow Front-Bench team. I understand the challenges of the teaching profession, and we are taking action. That is why we set up the workload challenge in 2014. The report published today by the Education Policy Institute is based on the 2013 TALIS. When that survey was published we looked at it very carefully, which is why we conducted the survey that we did and are taking action. The key thing is that 1.4 million more pupils are in good and outstanding schools today than there were in 2010, including 4,500 more in such schools in Trafford and 27,900 more in the city of Manchester.

There is some sort of screed written in front of the Minister of State. He may find it profitable for himself and others to deposit it in the Library, where colleagues can consult it if they wish in the long winter evenings that lie ahead.