Exclusive: DfE to press Home Office on teacher visas

Department surprised and disappointed by Migration Advisory Committee recommendation not to put more teaching roles on shortage occupation list

Will Hazell

Biggest teacher education institution in Scotland backs #LetThemTeach

The Department for Education is to continue pushing the Home Office to give teachers higher priority for visas, Tes can reveal.

This morning, the Migration Advisory Committee published its long-awaited review of the "shortage occupation" list (SOL).

Although the review flagged up recruitment difficulties in the profession related to pay and workload, the MAC said extra teaching roles should not be added to the list.

Tes understands the DfE was disappointed and surprised that it did not recommend adding more teaching positions to the SOL.

The Home Office did not today commit to accepting the report's conclusions, and the DfE will continue to privately lobby it to include more teaching roles on the list, irrespective of the recommendation, Tes has been told.

The MAC's decision sparked dismay among education unions.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, called for the DfE to ignore the MAC’s ruling and press ahead with revising the SOL to include the whole teaching profession.

Since the start of the year, there have been signs the DfE is increasingly open to plugging teacher shortages with workers from abroad.

In January, the department’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy included a formal commitment that the MAC should consider “whether there is a case for extending the teacher occupations that are on the shortage occupation list beyond maths, physics, general science, computing and Mandarin”.

The strategy added: “Where suitably skilled teachers are not available domestically, we will explore opportunities to develop new and existing partnerships, focusing particularly on language teachers.”

The commitment appeared in the strategy in the wake of the Tes #LetThemTeach campaign, which called for the whole teaching profession to be added to the SOL.

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Will Hazell

Will Hazell

Will Hazell is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @whazell

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