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Teaching and Support Staff: Recruitment and Retention

Volume 656: debated on Monday 11 March 2019

13. What recent assessment he has made of the effect of trends in the levels of (a) pay and (b) workload on the recruitment and retention of teaching and support staff. (909688)

Our recent integrated teacher recruitment and retention strategy prioritises reducing unnecessary workloads. We will ensure teaching continues to offer one of the best pensions available, and teacher pay ranges have increased by between 1.5% and 3.5% this year.

I was back for assembly at my alma mater, Montpelier Primary School, this morning. It is an outstanding school, but it is coming under pressure from churn, with Brexit moving parents’ jobs so pupils are off, while teachers, finding their salaries are not enough to meet the London cost of living, either commute from outside London or permanently move their jobs there or overseas. What is the Secretary of State doing specifically about the London pressures, which are masked by the figures he has quoted, so that teachers are paid enough to be rooted in their community, as they were in my day, not passing through?

Of course we recognise the additional cost in high-cost areas, in particular in London. It is true that there are 200 more teachers in the Ealing local authority area than there were in 2010. However, it remains a very competitive recruitment market, particularly for graduate recruitment, partly because of the historically very low unemployment we have, and that makes our recruitment and retention strategy all the more important.

It is time for the right hon. Gentleman to issue his brevity textbook. Let us have an extract.

We are spending more per pupil than any other G7 nation, but headteachers are complaining that they are cleaning the loos themselves. Something is going wrong. What is it?

On the first point, we are spending more than any other G7 nation bar the United States in per capita funding for state primary and secondary education, but there are particular cost pressures in the system. We were discussing high needs earlier, and we do need to address that particular set of pressures. There are others as well, such as the way we go about purchasing and so on, and some of the costs that are particularly rising. I want to reassure my right hon. Friend that we are looking at all of those factors.