Sarah Younie & Christina Preston

Don’t lose the essence of what it means to teach

With so many teachers reporting a loss of joy in the job, squeezed out of them by a system that values bureaucracy over people, it’s no wonder there’s a retention crisis

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“There has never been a better time to be a teacher,” claimed Michael Gove, then education secretary, in 2013. Teaching is a vocation that still attracts creative and caring professionals who want to make a difference. But as the current government continues to promote structural change and the construction of ever-stronger accountability frameworks, are we in danger of missing the essence of what it means to be a teacher?

Since 2011, ever-louder alarms have been raised by statisticians regarding teacher retention and recruitment. The National Audit Office (NAO) has reported that, between 2011 ...

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