A new report calls into question the Department for Education’s recently announced policy to hastily procure a single set of cheap and untested curriculum resources across a range of subject areas and key stages.
At a time when a third of teachers already intend to leave the profession within five years – citing workload and diminishing respect for their profession as key reasons for this – the government’s latest procurement policy is counterintuitive.
The new Public First report highlights that most teachers see themselves as expert content curators who cherry-pick the best resources for each lesson and each student. However, the government’s plans could ultimately undermine teacher choice and threaten the future diversity of any high-quality resources available on the market. Teachers had little appetite for newly created ‘catch up’ resources for students in addition to resources already available to schools.
The report, which was commissioned by the Publishers Association, also found that textbooks save teachers 5.7 hours a week by reducing the time they spend planning lessons and that teachers who prefer physical resources such as textbooks are less likely to be stressed. Publishers therefore urge the government to champion a diversity of resource formats to suit all educational needs.
Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, commented:
“The whole education sector needs to work together to support teachers as they strive to help children who have lost out on their education during the pandemic.
“This report makes clear that the best way to do that is to empower teachers to choose the best education resources available and not try to hastily put together quick fix catch-up solutions.
“I’m sure that the Government’s efforts are well intended, but they run the risk of undermining world-leading education providers who are doing everything they can to provide the diversity of high-quality curriculum resources that students need.”