The Conservatives Teacher Retention Plan – UK Election 2024

The UK general election is right around the corner, but what is the current government offering in terms of teacher retention, and the future of education if they are re-elected?

Teacher Retention 

The Conservative party have been in government since 2010, so while other parties are looking to overcome what they see as a teaching recruitment and retention crisis, the Tories are looking to meet the challenge of recruiting more talented teachers. 

The Conservative government has introduced starting salaries of £30,000 and state in their manifesto that there is a record number of teachers, with 27,000 more than there was in 2010. 

In their manifesto, it’s stated that they will “attract more talented teachers by expanding our recruitment and retention premium and reducing workload”. The teacher recruitment and retention strategy was in the advanced stages of a refresh before the election was called, so it’s likely that this would be brought forward if the Conservatives were to win the election. 

Policies put forward to combat teacher recruitment and retention rates are all already existing. This includes the Levelling Up Premium payments, where teachers working in key subjects in the first 5 years of their career will be eligible for payments of up to £6,000 from this September. 

Workload Reduction 

In the Conservative Manifesto, they pledge to reduce teacher workload as part of their plan to improve retention and recruitment. 

The workload reduction taskforce, established by the Secretary of State in 2023, was created to support the government's aim of reducing teachers’ and leaders’ working hours by 5 hours a week within 3 years (2027). The role of the taskforce was to make recommendations to Government, Ofsted, School and Trust leaders by the end of March 2024. 

The recommendations of this taskforce were in the advanced stages of implementation before the election was called, so it’s likely that these will be implemented if the election were to be won by the Conservatives. 

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What are Their Education Policies? 

The following are the education policies set out by the Conservatives in their manifesto: 

  • Protect day-to-day schools spending in real terms per pupil over the next Parliament 
  • 15 new special free schools, on top of the 15 announced at the recent budget 
  • Banning mobile phones in schools 
  • Legislate to “ensure schools must follow our guidance for teachers on how best to support gender questioning students in schools and colleges” 
  • Mandate two hours of PE every week in primary and secondary schools 
  • Extend the PE and sport premium to secondary schools 
  • Increase funding for school games organisers to get more competitive sport into and between schools 
  • Work with sporting bodies to create more UK-wide school competitions like National Finals, to identify the best sporting talents 
  • Deliver new legislation “which will make clear, beyond all doubt, that parents have a right to see what their child is being taught in school and schools must share all materials, especially on sensitive matters like relationships and sex education” 
  • Expand coverage of mental health support teams from 50 to 100 per cent of schools and colleges in England by 2030 
  • Ban protests outside schools 
  • Support teachers to “uphold and promote fundamental British values and ensure they are protected from accusations of blasphemy” 
  • Expand strong academy trusts 
  • Deliver 60,000 more SEND places, including special school expansions and in mainstream schools 
  • Introduce the Advanced British Standard to replace A-levels and T-levels 
  • Legislate to create a register of children not in school 
  • Attract more talented teachers by expanding the recruitment and retention premium and reducing workload. The extended levelling-up premium offers new shortage subject teachers in priority areas up to £30,000 over five years 
  • Support teachers to use “tried and tested techniques, including our world-leading phonics programme and our mastery approach to maths” 
  • Support children in their transition to secondary school and ensure they “continue to receive a broad and enriched education during and after-school, including via our multi-million pound music hubs” 
  • Continue to work with schools and local authorities to improve school attendance 
  • “Back Ofsted” to provide clear judgments to parents on the quality and safety of schools 
  • Rebuild over 500 schools 
  • Rebuild or refurbish every school identified to have RAAC 
  • “Further protect parents’ choice on where to send their child to school, including preserving the rights of independent and grammar schools” 

Having been in Government for 14 years, the Conservatives believe that their plan for education, and teacher retention and recruitment is working, which is why they haven’t announced as many pledges as other parties might.  

When we wake up on the 5th of July, will these policies be enough to battle teacher retention and recruitment issues for the next 5 years? The Conservatives think so, other parties might disagree, but it ultimately comes down to you and your opinion - so use your vote on Thursday 4th July! 

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