Number of newly qualified teachers dropping but praise for retention in Hartlepool

The meeting was held at Hartlepool Civic Centre.
The meeting was held at Hartlepool Civic Centre.

Council bosses praised support given for newly qualified teachers in Hartlepool despite a drop in the number of new staff coming forward.

A report put before Hartlepool Borough Council’s children’s services committee found that over the past three years the number of  New Qualified Teachers (NQT) had dropped in line with national trends.

There were two awarding bodies for granting NQT status used by Hartlepool schools: St John Vianney Teaching School and a Stockton-based organisation.

Since 2015 the numbers of NQT granted by St John Vianney had fallen from 54 to 42.

Meanwhile the number from the Stockton body dropped for primary schools from five to one and for secondary schools from 16 to 13 over the same period.

However Mark Patton, assistant director for education on the council, said the majority of the teaching staff coming through were remaining in teaching in the area.

He said: “There’s been an about 20% drop in the number of newly qualified teachers.

“Our recruitment has fallen steadily and that’s in line with national trends.

“However our retention is quite strong particularly from St John Vianney.”

Councillors on the committee were pleased to hear Hartlepool had been performing well in retaining teachers and believed schools in the area were helping with this.

Committe chair,  Coun Brenda Harrison said: “I think it’s very interesting.

“I was a bit concerned when I looked at national figures showing the number of teachers leaving within the first five years.

“But this is not happening in Hartlepool, which is very, very good.

“I do think we have schools in Hartlepool which do nurture new teachers.”

Jo Heaton, executive headteacher of the federation of St. Peter’s Elwick CofE (VA) and Hart Community Primary Schools, commented retention of female teachers could be linked to flexible and part-time work after maternity leave.

She said: “Retaining staff is one of the most pressing issues we face.

“For females especially coming back after having children, the option of part-time work and flexible could help stop us from losing them.”

Committee members recognised the issue but stated flexibility could be difficult due to timetable constraints.

Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporting Service