DfE looks to TAs to help solve teacher shortages

Converting teaching assistants into teachers could be a key part of the Department for Education's strategy for solving the teacher recruitment crisis, Tes can reveal.As part of its preparations for a new teacher recruitment and retention strategy, the DfE is commissioning a survey of teaching assistants (TAs) in order to understand the “feasibility and any challenges” of them becoming teachers.A DfE email seen by Tes invites bids from researchers to interview “a spread" of TAs of different ages and qualifications and in different types of schools in order to understand their “appetite” for becoming teachers.It notes that the number of TAs has risen by 24 per cent since 2010. "Simultaneously," it adds, "challenges in teacher supply have worsened".The email, sent out just before Christmas, says the DfE's teacher recruitment and retention strategy "aims to address these teacher supply challenges and consider new ways to encourage potential teachers to join the profession".It says: "There is no available evidence on TAs’ intentions or perceptions towards becoming teachers. This research would fill this evidence gap and help the department understand the feasibility of (and any challenges associated with) encouraging TAs to become teachers.”

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