First day nerves – we all have them. I can vividly remember when I walked into the House of Commons for the first time. “Butterflies” would be an understatement.
For teachers taking the first steps in their career, entering a new classroom and giving their first lesson must be equally intimidating, or more so. All those eager young faces.
Have I pitched my lesson at the right level? What if they misbehave? All those things to remember. All those things you mustn’t forget.
First day nerves are unavoidable for anyone embarking on a new professional adventure, but every young professional should know that they will be fully supported as they take their first steps – when the learning curve is steepest.
Since I was appointed education secretary, it has been my overriding priority to ensure that the brightest and best are not only drawn to, but remain in, the profession. Teaching must be an attractive career, where unnecessary workload is driven down and all teachers – particularly those at the beginning of their professional journey – benefit from high-quality development and the support of experienced colleagues.
Improving teacher recruitment and retention
To deliver on that, today I am launching our first integrated recruitment and retention strategy. Developed in collaboration with teachers, school leaders, trade unions and other education experts, it sets out my department’s priorities for teaching.
We are simplifying the process of applying to become a teacher and making it easier for people interested in teaching to get experience in a classroom. We are also reforming bursaries to include retention-based payments to encourage talented teachers to stay in the classroom, alongside encouraging schools to introduce flexible working practices. And of course, the strategy continues the crucial battle against workload.
- 'Some common sense on teacher recruitment - at last'
But at the heart of this strategy is the Early Career Framework, and our commitment to transform support for new teachers as part of the most significant reforms to teaching in a generation.
The Early Career Framework underpins what all early career teachers are entitled to be trained in based on expert guidance and the best available research evidence. Created collaboratively with the profession – and drawing on the expertise of the Education Endowment Foundation – the Early Career Framework will underpin a funded two-year structured package of support for new teachers, including a reduced timetable in their second year and high-quality mentoring from an experienced colleague.
Once fully rolled out nationally, we will be investing an additional £130 million every year to deliver on the promise of these crucial reforms.
It is through this additional support, dedicated time to spend on professional development and access to the evidence that underpins great teaching, that all teachers will fulfil their potential and make the greatest difference for their pupils.
Being at the front of the classroom is a life-changing experience and offers something that few other professions can – the chance to help shape a young life.
We owe it to those who choose to teach to ensure they have the right support to set them up for a long and fulfilling career in the classroom. That is what the Early Career Framework is designed to do.
Damian Hinds is the secretary of state for education