There is a current teacher shortage in London that may affect your children’s school and in turn their standard of education.
According to Sir Daniel Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation, which manages 37 academies in London, rising house prices are making it “almost impossible” to keep talented teachers. Education secretary Nicky Morgan’s determination to press ahead with full-scale academisation is a distraction. Does no-one care if the best teachers are finding it impossible to pay their rent? And heading for tax-free zones in the Middle East?
Sir Daniel makes no bones about it. “For me the priority would be: in London you can call schools what you like but if there aren’t the teachers there because you can’t give them anywhere to live, that’s the bigger priority. I’d be spending the money on that.”
So he is asking for low cost housing for teachers and doctors on publicly owned land. Moynihan believes in parent power and community voice to make a fuss:
“If you don’t have parents on a governing body, it’s really easy to get misunderstandings with the community. Having parents there provides people other parents can talk to, and find out what is going on, and that’s pretty useful.”
Meanwhile, many parents have discovered the benefits of private tuition.We get all that. The question is how to help the youngsters whose families rely on regular schooling. You may need to know how the crisis is affecting your children. Difficulty in recruiting permanent staff means a school turning to agencies for supply teachers. Pricey. And for pupils, a high turnover in key subject staff can cost them a crucial GCSE grade.
Increasingly, too, there’s a reliance on graduate teaching assistants (TAs) and learning support staff. They are willing to accept lower salaries in return for subsidized training to be qualified teachers themselves. Young, full of up-to-date subject knowledge, happy to give their all – it’ doesn’t have to be such bad news. Not to mention the government’s latest scheme to provide teaching apprenticeships. With fully qualified, permanent staff to mentor them.
What can you do? Involve yourself with the school governing body is one route. Make your voice heard. Phone the National Governors’ Association for information on: 0121 237 3780.