Nicky Morgan has pointed the finger at the mainstream media for “putting people off” joining the teaching profession with negative coverage of the profession.
The education secretary made the claim while visiting Vic Goddard, the principal of Passmores Academy in Harlow, Essex, following a heartfelt blog he penned highlighting the stress headteachers were under.
In his open letter addressed to Ms Morgan, the star of reality TV show Educating Essex, laments the difficulties he and his colleagues across the country were facing in recruiting competent staff.
The Cabinet member said she agreed with Mr Goddard’s concerns and called on the media to amend its ways.
Speaking to TES last Thursday, Ms Morgan said: “I am going to lay a challenge at the door of the media, because one of the things Vic said loud and clear is the way that schooling and education is reported in this country, the language used often puts people off from wanting to go into it [teaching].
It came just a day after she announced a new education bill would convert up to 1,000 “failing” schools into academies. The bill will also target so-called “coasting” schools, which could face a change of leadership unless there is a sufficient improvement in standards.
“I have been very careful about the language I’ve used this week, which has been all about working with schools – particularly those where the results aren’t as good as we want them to be and children aren’t being stretched,” she added.
Late last month, figures released by Ucas showed there had been a 12 per cent drop in the number of applicants to teacher training courses, fuelling further fears that the country is in the grips of a teacher recruitment crisis.