Responding to a question posed by Labour, Schools Minister David Laws said 47,700 teachers left their jobs in 2010/11, up 7, 630 on the previous year. No explanation has been offered for the rise, so why are so many teachers deciding to duck out of what has traditionally been a most vocational profession?
Personally, I don’t think people are losing the passion that invariably comes with the call to teach, it’s more likely that recent government cuts, unpopular reforms and confusing rhetoric are having a profound affect.
I’m not a teacher, but many of my friends are and over the last few years their grumblings have become noticeably more audible and varied whenever the topic of work is aired. Most of them feel that the pressure to perform and achieve imposed grade targets falls at squarely their door – it is them who are being assessed by their peers rather than the pupils they teach. Teachers are all too often being asked to hit unrealistic targets and rather than being given the help they need to pull the most needy kids up to standard they themselves are punished for what is essentially ‘making the school look bad’.
Add to this Michael Gove’s seemingly relentless undermining attacks on teachers and it’s no wonder confidence in the profession is at an all time low. The government and educationalists are at loggerheads from staffrooms to Whitehall and confusion reigns.
Teachers will never have the confidence to do what they do best until Gove ceases his blame-war, until then I believe schools will continue to suffer the haemorrhaging of these once hard working professionals, and how does that help the kids?