[R]ory Stewart MP has met with some of Cumbria’s key Education figures to discuss some of the challenges facing the teaching system. The group included Graham Frost, Cumbria Branch Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), Sue Sanderson, Cumbria County Council Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning, and Kathryn Fox, Head of School Partnership and External Engagement at the University of Cumbria.
During the meeting they discussed issues such as support and funding for inclusive practice, recruitment and retention of school leaders, and the training, recruitment and retention of teaching staff.
Following the meeting Rory Stewart said: “I am pleased to have had the opportunity to discuss Cumbria’s teaching challenges with Sue, Kathryn and Graham, and am very grateful to them for sharing their knowledge and insight.
“We should remember that more people came back into teaching in 2016 than in 2011, and more people came into teaching than left last year, and that is encouraging, but it is absolutely right that teacher retention and professional development is prioritised, and I am pleased that the Government is investing £42 million to pilot a Teacher Development Premium, which will test the impact of a £1,000 budget for high-quality professional development for teachers working in areas that have fallen behind.
“I am also encouraged by plans to introduce extensive measures to boost teacher recruitment and retention, as well as the investment in teacher support and training. A new style maths bursary will also be piloted, with 1,500 – 2,000 maths trainees expected to benefit from this in 2018-19.
“Over £30 million will be invested in supporting some of those schools that face the biggest challenges in recruiting and retaining teachers, and Northern Powerhouse funding will be used to support the best teacher trainer providers to expand their reach in northern areas. I welcome the £75 million investment in the Teaching and Leadership Innovation Funding over the next three years.
“This will support high-quality professional development for teachers and school leaders in the parts of country and the schools that need it the most.
“All this news is very encouraging, but we absolutely need to make sure that any scheme will benefit rural areas like Cumbria, where our unique geography can often put us at a disadvantage, and so I will be keeping a close eye on how things develop and push for improvements where necessary.”