Resolving London’s Teaching Challenges

MQT on 2019-05-16
Session date: 
May 16, 2019
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Research by the National Education Union found that as many as 1 in 5 teachers nationally are considering leaving the profession in just 2 years and your previous research has shown London struggles more with teacher retention than elsewhere. How are your programmes, including Teach London and Healthy Schools, resolving this?


Answer for Resolving London’s Teaching Challenges

Answer for Resolving London’s Teaching Challenges

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you.  City Hall’s Teach London campaign has responded to the needs of London’s schools by boosting support for teacher recruitment and retention in the capital.  This has become an acute problem for schools despite the attractions of starting a career in London with all the great opportunities and resources teachers have.  Teach London provides web‑based resources to help schools with recruitment, including a London teacher training map, promotion of recruitment events and links to teaching jobs in London’s boroughs.  It also includes a brochure for school leaders, which shares our key research findings on the challenges, as well as providing ideas to help them retain our existing great teachers, such as around flexible working and housing.  Exclusive opportunities for London teachers are also highlighted such as our London Curriculum programme, which the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) and others cite as an exemplar of how to provide a more enriched curriculum and reduce teacher workload.


Similarly, their pupils will benefit from participating in Healthy Schools London.  This encourages schools to support staff in maintaining their health and wellbeing to lead healthy lifestyles and to be positive role models.  London’s schools are also signing up to my Healthy Workplace Award, which helps support teachers’ mental health and wellbeing.  The first 100 schools have taken up mental health first aid training funded through the Young Londoners Fund.


Our Teach London support includes a digital campaign to attract and encourage new graduates to teach in London, particularly seeking more black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) trainees to improve the diversity in London’s teacher workforce.  There is a clear under‑representation of BAME teachers compared to London’s pupil population.  Research shows the importance of career development for retaining all and especially BAME teachers.  That is why I am pleased to say that over half of the participants in this year’s Getting Ahead London, my programme to support more senior leaders into headship, are from BAME backgrounds and two‑thirds are women.


Schools in London have fed back on the value of Teach London and on how it has helped increase the pressure on the Department for Education (DfE) to improve its national teacher recruitment and support, yet the schools leading on teacher training are still reporting difficulties in filling places this year [2019].  It is vital that the Government continues to step up in this area and give more support at a time when our school face so much pressure on budgets through this Government’s schools funding policies.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  Thank you for that comprehensive answer.  Can I just commend the Deputy Mayor, Assembly Member McCartney, for the work that she has led in this area?  Things have absolutely improved, certainly over the last two years.  I welcome what you had to say about the increased numbers of people of BAME heritage within that cohort now and going forward and working in our schools.


I do not have the time now but it is a topic that I will be returning to over the year because it is essential that we do not just have teachers or retain them but that they also represent the population that they serve.  Thank you for the work that you are doing.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chair, it is not simply recruiting them and retaining them but progression as well.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  And progression, absolutely.  Thank you so much.