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House of Commons Hansard
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Written Statements
28 January 2019
Volume 653

Written Statements

Monday 28 January 2019

Education

Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy

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Teaching remains a popular career choice for many. We recruited over 2,000 more trainee teachers for the 2018-19 academic year than in 2017-18, continuing the positive trend we saw the previous year. However, the growing number of pupils of secondary age means that we need even more teachers. This is at a time when we are losing more teachers from the profession than we can afford to, and are operating in the most competitive labour market on record.

To address this, the Department for Education has developed a teacher recruitment and retention strategy. Building on extensive quantitative and qualitative evidence, the strategy was developed collaboratively with teachers, headteachers, representative bodies, teachers’ unions, initial teacher training providers and leading experts.

At the core of the strategy is the understanding that there are no great schools without great teachers. No other profession is as important to the fate of the next generation or as uniquely rewarding as teaching. The strategy outlines four key areas where focus, investment and reform can have the biggest impact on improving teacher recruitment and retention.

Priority One: Create the right climate for leaders to establish supportive school cultures

At the heart of this will be reforming the school accountability system. In particular we will radically simplify the system helping to reduce pressure, consulting on making “requires improvement” the sole trigger for an offer of support—replacing floor and coasting standards. The new Ofsted framework will have an active focus on reducing teacher workload, with inspectors considering staff workload as part of the leadership and management judgment. They will also look unfavourably on schools that implement burdensome data practices, and will refuse to look at internal assessment data.

Priority Two: Transform support for early career teachers

We are launching the early career framework, which will underpin a fully-funded, two-year package of structured support for all early career teachers linked to the best available research evidence—alongside funded time off timetable in the second year of teaching and additional support for mentors. We will create a major shift in the incentives for new teachers by introducing phased bursaries, with staggered retention payments to encourage good people to remain in the profession, as well as to join.

Priority Three: Build a career offer that remains attractive to teachers as their careers and lives develop

We will develop specialist qualifications to support clearer non-leadership career pathways for teachers who want to stay and excel in the classroom. We will invest in these new and existing leadership qualifications, and will do so disproportionately in challenging schools. We will support headteachers to transform approaches to flexible working in schools.

Priority Four: Make it easier for great people to become teachers

We will launch a new discover teaching initiative, giving as many people as possible the opportunity to experience the unique opportunities that a career in teaching provides. We will radically simplify the process for becoming a teacher, introducing new digital systems designed to make application much easier and more user-friendly. In particular, we will introduce a new one-stop application service for ITT, which will be easier to use and designed to better meet the needs of potential trainees. We will review the ITT market to support it to work more efficiently and effectively.

This strategy builds on work already in hand to achieve this Government’s vision to improve teacher recruitment and retention. We know that delivering this vision will take time; the issues are complicated and long-standing. But we are committed to continuing to work closely with the teaching profession to deliver this vision.

I will deposit a copy of the strategy in the House Library.

[HCWS1278]

Home Department

Migration Crossings

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Since November 2018 there has been a significant increase in the number of individuals attempting to cross the English Channel illegally in small boats.

This activity represents a substantial risk to the lives of those attempting the crossing, as well as to the rescue services. Organised criminal networks are exploiting vulnerable individuals to drive profit from what is a highly dangerous activity.

As I set out to the House on 7 January, I declared a major incident on 28 December to send a clear message that we will not tolerate these life-threatening and illegal crossings. I established a Gold Command structure to co-ordinate my Department’s response to this issue.

Good progress has been made to date. The re-deployment of Border Force assets and use of aerial surveillance has substantially improved coverage in the Channel and our extensive work with our French counterparts has improved co-ordination, both on land and at sea. We have built on existing structures, such as the Centre Conjoint d’Information et de Co-ordination (CCIC), which sees Border Force and Police Aux Frontiéres working alongside law enforcement partners to exchange real-time intelligence on criminality at the border and work together to identify and dismantle criminal gangs involved in people smuggling and wider cross-border crime. The Immigration Minister attended the formal opening of CCIC with Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on 25 January and saw first-hand the efforts that both countries are making to enhance our co-operation around border security.

Through these efforts, we have managed to reduce the number of individuals attempting the crossing from around 250 in December to around 90 so far in January, with roughly half of the January attempts being intercepted by partners in France before they can make it to British waters. But even one crossing is too many and I am determined that we make further efforts to deter both the facilitators and the individuals making these crossings.

To that end, I met with Minister Castaner in London on 24 January to agree a Joint Action Plan. The plan solidifies and builds on our existing border security partnership by setting out over £6 million (€7 million) in investment for new security equipment, as well as increased CCTV coverage of ports, air surveillance and shared intelligence. We have also agreed that migrants encountered in the Channel will be taken to the nearest safe port, in accordance with international maritime law.

In addition, the plan features a mutual commitment to return more migrants to France who have used boats to illegally cross the Channel. The first of these returns took place on 24 January.

We will not allow illegal migration and its facilitators to flourish, and we will continue to work closely with France and other countries to provide a strong deterrent against these dangerous crossings. This includes making it clear that those fearing persecution should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, and my officials are looking to strengthen our inadmissibility guidance for claims made by those who have travelled here through countries that are internationally recognised as being safe.

The Joint Action Plan comes into force immediately and builds on the existing framework of co-operation set out in the Sandhurst Treaty. I am confident that it will strengthen the achievements that we have made to date and I thank our French colleagues for their collaboration in working with the United Kingdom to tackle this critical issue—protecting human life, and our border.

I will place a copy of the Joint Action Plan in the House Library.

[HCWS1280]

Housing, Communities and Local Government

Local Government Funding: Brexit Preparation

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Local government will play a critical role in making a success of Brexit at the local level. My Department is committed to ensuring councils have the support and the funding they need to prepare for an orderly exit from the EU and do appropriate contingency planning.

Today I am announcing an additional £56.5 million to help councils carry out their preparations.

Councils will receive £20 million this financial year as well as £20 million to spend in the next financial year to fund additional planning and capacity. Across the two years, all district councils will receive £35,000, all county councils will receive £175,000, all unitaries will receive £210,000 and all combined authorities will receive £182,000, and £1.5 million will be allocated in 2018-19 only to local authorities facing immediate impacts from local ports, with details of the allocation and distribution of that funding to be announced shortly.

I am retaining £10 million for allocation during 2019-20 to respond to specific local costs that may only become evident in the months after we exit the EU.

Finally, £5 million will be split between teams in my Department and the local government sector for specific purposes such as strengthening resilience preparations and supporting communities.

This funding will help councils to adapt to changes caused by Brexit, while still protecting vital local services.

This will not be the only resources councils receive to fund Brexit costs. The Government have been clear that Departments will assess and, if appropriate, fund any potential new burdens arising on councils as part of EU exit work they are undertaking.

As for councils’ overall funding, the provisional finance settlement which I announced before Christmas provides extra funding, with the confirmation that core spending power is forecast to increase from £45.1 billion in 2018-19 to £46.4 billion in 2019-20. This amounts to a cash increase of 2.8% and a real-terms increase in resources available to local authorities. I will be returning to this House shortly, following consultation, to announce the final settlement.

Table of overall funding allocations

2018-19

(£m)

2019-20

(£m)

Total

(£m)

Upfront funding for all councils*

20

20

40

Authorities affected by ports

1.5

1.5

Retained foe specific local costs which arise

10

10

Split between Departmental teams and local government sector

5

5

Total

56.5

*Division by type of authority shown in table below

Table showing split of £40m upfront funding by type of authority

2018-19

(£k)

2019-20

(£k)

Total (£k)

Combined Authorities (11 including London (GLA))

91

91

182

District councils

17.5

17.5

35

County councils

87.5

87.5

175

Unitary authorities*

105

105

210

*Unitary authorities will receive the sum of the county and district allocations. Metropolitan boroughs and London boroughs are unitary authorities.

[HCWS1279]