TES highlighted once more this week (14 June 2016) the mounting concern amongst School and Trust leaders surrounding teacher shortages, especially in some STEM subjects. 

Their comments followed the recent publication of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report Training New Teachers (10 June 2016), alongside a previous report by the National Audit Office (NAO on the government’s initial teacher training (ITT) policies (10 February 2016). 

So given the current shortages, what can MATs do to help the situation? 

It seems that more than ever before, senior school leaders need to be fully in control of the teaching resources available to them, across their entire multi-academy trust.  School self-evaluation and data-driven improvement are fast becoming the new buzz words; Educational Intelligence is informing the future of education leadership.

A first-rate data-reporting service can give MATs an up-to-date trust-wide picture, enabling comparison between schools, subjects, student groups and years – pinpointing any staff shortages, both in the areas of recruitment and retention.   Patterns and trends are quickly visible, allowing MATs to maximise their current teaching resources, swiftly redeploying teachers where possible as well as using mentorship and support schemes from any high performing departments.

New government accountability measures – Progress 8 – mean school leaders need to be more vigilant about improving the performance of every Year 7 to 11 student, to ensure a positive score and avoid triggering a visit from OFSTED.   Whilst many schools have risen to the challenge of Progress 8, some are struggling, especially in rural areas and areas of high deprivation where teacher retention and recruitment is reaching crisis level and affecting performance levels. 

“No education system can be better than the quality of its teachers,” states Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL teaching union. “Yet these are in shorter supply.”

The use of reporting and analytics in Education is on the rise.  Forward-looking school leaders are investigating, planning to use or actively using information technology that can turn their vast amounts of data into data-driven insight. 

Whilst a data-reporting service can’t solve the present crisis in teacher shortages, it can help MAT and School Leaders to manage the resources they do have effectively, rewarding high performing teachers, boosting morale and spreading trust-wide best practice.  And that can only be a good thing, especially with MAT accountability now firmly in the spotlight.

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