240 posts in 24 months: more than 30,000 views: visitors from across the globe. Little did I think when I posted my first entry to this blog in January 2013 that it would reach such an audience only two years later.
My thanks to those of you that read the postings regularly. I fear that the blog has strayed slightly from its original purpose of re-telling the stories behind the numbers into a wider range of topics. Perhaps that was inevitable given the range of issues arising out of education policy over the past two years. However, the topic that has come to the front, especially during the past eighteen months, is that of teacher supply, and recruitment into both training and employment.
I started my career in teaching in January 1971 in the middle of a recruitment crisis, being hired as a supply teacher to cover parts of two vacancies the school couldn’t fill. The school was a challenging one and a place some teachers came to look, but didn’t bother to stay even for the interview as they know there were other vacancies they could apply for in easier schools. I don’t want to see this situation again. We came close to it in 2003, and the risks are once again in plain sight.
By the time the general election campaign is in full swing in April the situation both regarding recruitment for September and for recruitment into training for 2016 employment will be well known and the government will have nowhere to hide if the situation has deteriorated compared with last year, especially for entry into training.
As a Lib Dem county councillor I am still aware that the issue left over from the Labour government of a well defined and engaged middle tier to sit between Westminster and the schools still hasn’t been properly solved. Academies, as the recent events over their accounts show, are not part of a unified system working for the good of all. Competition hasn’t yet been fully replaced by cooperation, and the notion of good schools for all with choice between good schools and not between a good school and a less good one is still little more than an aspiration on parts of the country.
So, we now wait to see what will happen after the general election. Will there be another whirlwind, as there was in 2010 with the Academies Act arriving on the statute book less than three months after the election. I would be surprised if that turns out to be the case. Much, as ever, will depend upon the personality of the Secretary of State and what they want to achieve. Gove wanted to be Education Secretary: does either of the current Labour or Conservative politicians with the brief really want the job after May?
This year I have helped create TeachVac as a new and free matching service for schools looking for teachers and applicants looking for teaching posts. Full details are at www.teachvac.co.uk. This may take more of my time, so I cannot guarantee to continue ten posts per month in the next year: but I will see what can be done. Once again, thanks for reading.