Exclusive: DfE abandons National Teaching Service

Scheme ditched after just 54 teachers recruited

Will Hazell

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The government has been forced to abandon plans for a National Teaching Service after recruiting just 54 staff onto the scheme designed to help “underperforming schools”.

Ministers had hoped that 1,500 outstanding teachers would eventually be parachuted in through the NTS.

But today following a TES freedom of information request the Department for Education admitted that the programme attracted just 116 applications, and only 54 of whom were subsequently recruited.

A spokesperson said that the scheme had now been abandoned “following a review of the outcomes”. 

The National Teaching Service was due to begin with a pilot this September with 100 teachers and leaders working with “underperforming” schools in the North West of England.

Only 24 of those recruited have so far been matched with schools, though the Department for Education said it was continuing to match the others.

A DfE spokesman said: “We launched a pilot in the North West to test the concept of how a National Teaching Service could work.

“We are pleased with the level of interest in the pilot and the calibre of the successful candidates.  However, following a review of the outcomes we can confirm that we will not be progressing with the further roll out of the National Teaching Service.

The spokesman added: “We recognise that it is vitally important that schools, particularly in challenging areas, can recruit and retain excellent teachers and we are determined to continue to support them to do this.

“We will use the lessons learnt from the pilot to secure a better understanding of to support schools in the future, and will set out future plans in due course.”

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL union, said the National Teaching Service was “shambolic and chaotic, both in its design and its implementation”.

She said the idea was “window dressing” from a “government keen to be seen to be doing something”.

"The difficulty for the government is that its wasted time, money and resources, but particularly time in a scheme which is patently completely unsuccessful,” she said. 

“While that’s been going on the teaching recruitment crisis has been getting worse.”

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Will Hazell

Will Hazell

Will Hazell is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @whazell

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