Failed National Teaching Service was developed ‘in a hurry’, admits DfE boss

attainment gap

The head of the Department for Education has admitted that the failed National Teaching Service was developed “in a bit of a hurry” and did not adequately incentivise teachers or schools to take part.

Jonathan Slater, the DfE’s permanent secretary, has told MPs that the service failed because it did not offer teachers enough money to take part.

The National Teaching Service was abandoned last December after it emerged that just 24 teachers had accepted jobs under the scheme by the middle of last November.

The scheme offered up to £10,000 for teachers or middle leaders with at least three years’ experience to relocate to struggling schools, and was due to launch in the north-west in January of this year.

As revealed by Schools Week last year, the policy failed even after the deadline for applications for the trial in the north-west was extended by several months.

Just 14 people applied by the original deadline of late August 2016, and a further 10 applied after.

Slater told the parliamentary public accounts committee this afternoon that the government had learned that the amount offered to teachers had not been enough of an incentive, and that where teachers did apply, some schools were reluctant to take them on.

“Number one, we found that a £10,000 relocation sum didn’t incentivise enough people to move,” he said. “Number two, we found that there were more people wanting to move than there were schools wanting to receive them.

“So while 24 people were reallocated successfully, there were 29 people who wanted to, but the schools in question didn’t want to receive them.”

This reluctance among schools was down to issues with the particular subject specialisms of the teachers or the phase they taught.

“I suppose the final thing we learned is we did it in a bit of a hurry, to be honest,” he said.

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  1. I remember we were told that “super teachers” were going to be parachuted into deprived areas to solve the problems of huge swathes of the country. They would be experienced experts who would be sent to whichever schools the DfE decided on and they would have no choice over the school. Nicky Morgan thought her pet project was a brilliant initiative.

    Teachers all knew it was bonkers at the time. Where were all these super teachers going to come from and what sort of super teacher would have so little life that they could be dumped anywhere?

    The bigger worry for me is that most of DfE policy is of a similar quality and it is causing the very crisis in our schools that the DfE claim to want to resolve.
    Maybe the DfE could involve more teachers in their decision making to help root out the really stupid ideas, and I don’t mean employ ex Policy Exchange/Teach Firsters with 2 years working life experience.