National Teaching Service cancelled after just 24 accept places

The government has scrapped its flagship National Teaching Service after admitting it did not get enough recruits for its plan to parachute elite teachers into struggling schools in the north west.

Figures exclusively released to Schools Week under the freedom of information act today show that just 24 teachers had accepted jobs in the scheme by November 22.

However, the original deadline for applicants to accept their posts was the last week of August, and the figures seen today show only 14 people had accepted jobs at that time. The additional 10 were recruited after the deadline.

The Department for Education told Schools Week it had been “pleased with the level of interest” in the pilot and the “calibre of the successful candidates” but had decided not to progress with the roll-out “following a review of the outcomes”.

A spokesperson said: “We recognise that it is vitally important that schools, particularly in challenging areas, can recruit and retain excellent teachers and we are determined to continue to support them to do this.

“We will use the lessons learnt from the pilot to secure a better understanding of to support schools in the future, and will set out future plans in due course.”

If follows a lengthy battle to get the DfE to reveal recruitment figures for the scheme, which was launched in 2015 and was a pet project for former education secretary Nicky Morgan.

Schools Week reported earlier this month on speculation that the scheme had failed to sign up enough teachers. Ministers had been hoping to hire 1,500.

The NTS 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 a pilot cohort in September which was then pushed back to January.

Mary Bousted, the general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, told Schools Week that the scheme had always been a “sticking plaster” for recruitment problems, and was “under-resourced and not attractive to teachers”.

“It was meant to be Nicky Morgan’s major initiative to tackle teacher shortages, but it has palpably failed.”

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  1. How many teachers are likely to be able or want to move to an unspecified school in an unspecified town somewhere in the north of the country? Well possibly new trainees might. But successful teachers with a least 3 years’ experience? It always seemed like a stupid idea but then that hasn’t stopped the DfE before. Now we know the answer. Most successful teachers could have told the DfE this was not going to work and saved a huge amount of money from being wasted.
    Lesson for DfE: Try asking teachers how we can improve things before launching more bonkers ideas. Will they listen? Well they will say “bla bla bla spin spin waffle” but the evidence is not good. Will they listen? No!