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Secondary Education: Equality

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL3851, tabled on 8 November 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the manifesto by Teach First A fighting chance for every child: a manifesto for ending educational inequality, published in August; and in particular the recommendation that they should "pilot a reduction in teachers' timetables" in one per cent of the most disadvantaged secondary schools in England.

Answered on

18 November 2021

The department read the report with interest.

Being taught by a high-quality teacher is the single most important in-school factor affecting pupil outcomes and it has the biggest impact on the grades of pupils from more disadvantaged backgrounds.

The department recognises that some schools and local areas face more challenges recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers and need targeted support. That is why we are delivering targeted programmes, including targeting financial incentives at disadvantaged schools and funding professional development:

In academic year 2020/21, the department targeted the early rollout of our Early Career Framework for 1,900 newly qualified teachers in the North East, Greater Manchester, Bradford and Doncaster.

We have announced a Levelling Up Premium worth up to £3,000 tax-free for maths, physics, chemistry, and computing teachers in years 1 to 5 of their careers. This will support recruitment and retention of specialist secondary school teachers in these subjects and in the schools and areas that need them most. We will confirm the full eligibility details, including the eligible schools and areas, in due course.

The department has taken action to improve teacher and leader workload, working with the profession to understand and address both longstanding issues around marking, planning and data management and the challenges presented by COVID-19.

The Department for Education school workload reduction toolkit, developed alongside school leaders, is a helpful resource that is being used by schools to review and reduce workload in their unique context. We are working with the sector on an update to be published in the coming months.