An issue a number of headteachers have raised with me is the challenge of teacher recruitment and retention, particularly given our rural location.
I raised this with the Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP as part of the grounds for securing Opportunity Area status, and spoke with the then Chief Executive of Teach First Brett Wigdortz to question why his organisation was supporting other parts of the country but not our area, and how we could fix this.
Teach First is a fantastic organisation taking the brightest University Graduates and fast tracking them into teaching. Following my conversation with Brett, he committed to working with Fenland and East Cambs and last year we secured a new partnership with Teach First at the Thomas Clarkson Academy.
Now as part of the Government’s Opportunity Area programme, Teach First have agreed to extend this partnership to all Fenland schools including primary schools. This offers a huge boost for our schools so they can attract more teaching talent.
If you are a governor of a local school in Fenland or East Cambs, please ensure your school is making the most of this opportunity with Teach First, and also the other opportunities offered by our Opportunity Area status such as free professional qualification training for teachers in any Fenland and East Cambs schools.
To find out more about the opportunities offered by our Opportunity Area status, please see the delivery plan which has just been published.
It has long been clear to me that we have great talent in our schools but there is scope to do more to raise aspirations further. Teach First will help us do so.