Trainee teachers are to be sent into primary schools in poorer rural areas as part of a plan to tackle recruitment problems.
Teach First will be sending trainees on placements as part of a new partnership launched today with the Church of England and the Chartered College of Teaching.
The Rural Teaching Partnership will be run in 10 pilot areas with Teach First recruits starting two-year placements at Church of England primary schools from September next year.
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All of the recruits will be enrolled on the charity's training programme and will get specialist support on working in small rural settings – such as training on teaching one class with multiple year groups.
Teacher recruitment challenges faced by rural schools
Russell Hobby, chief executive of Teach First, said: “Rural schools, particularly in areas with high deprivation, face complex challenges. This means they can struggle to recruit and retain the teachers and leaders they need for their pupils.
“This partnership aims to break this cycle. Not only by getting teachers to where they’re needed most, but by building powerful networks of support around them to ensure they thrive. When we get this right, we can create a fairer future for every child.”
Teach First highlighted the findings of a report on educational isolation, which warned that rural school leaders face greater difficulties with staff recruitment and retention compared with urban schools.
As Tes exclusively revealed last year, this report, by Professor Tanya Ovenden-Hope and Dr Rowena Passy, found that many remote and rural schools face an “educational isolation” which is not only geographic but can also be professional, social and economic.
More than half of the Church of England’s 4,644 schools are based in rural areas.
The 10 pilot dioceses for the project are Leeds, York, Truro, Salisbury, Chelmsford, Norwich, Oxford, Hereford, Derby, and Bath and Wells.
The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, the Church of England’s lead bishop for education, said: “Children in rural communities deserve excellent teachers, and this partnership is about helping to ensure the best outcomes for children in every community.
“More than a third of the 15 million people alive today who went to a Church of England school will have done so in a rural area, and will have special memories of their time.
"We are committed to running excellent schools in rural communities and ensuring that children who live and learn there get to work with fantastic teachers.”
Dame Alison Peacock, chief executive of the Chartered College of Teaching, said: "I am pleased that the Chartered College of Teaching will be part of this exciting initiative. It will shine a light on the expertise of teaching communities in rural areas of England."