Are the media to blame for “putting people off” teaching? (Nicky Morgan) Politicians? Ofsted?

9 Jun

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has blamed the mainstream media for “putting people off” joining the teaching profession with negative coverage of the profession.

Speaking to TES, Ms Morgan said:

“I am going to lay a challenge at the door of the media, because …. 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].”

Recent figures from Ucas show a 12 per cent drop in the number of applicants to teacher training courses.

The media do often portray education in a negative light. Even , when Ofsted actually celebrates teachers’ achievements , the media generally put a negative, teacher-bashing “standards are falling”, glass-is-quarter-empty-rather-than-three-quarters-full spin on positive statistics. 

However, that coverage is usually inspired by politicians and their spin doctors. Ms Morgan criticised the media’s “language”,  but the aggressive, negative language  used by politicians – particularly by Nick Morgan’s predecessor Michael Gove – and all-too-frequently Michael Wilshaw and Ofsted, also damage the profession’s reputation.

Ms Morgan has also indulged in negative language, claiming that the views of others are “ideology” – a tactic used by Mr Gove to represent democratic debate and consultation as the tactics of ‘the enemy’.

Is it any wonder that schools are recruting from overseas?

However, there are also many other issues that put off potential recruits, including pay, lack of consultation, constant change from government etc, etc, etc, plus:

Further information

Blog post: Politics is an evil which is necessary to education but it should not be its ruling force” (April 2015)

“What we need now is stability and trust”: article by Deborah Lawson in SecEd, 21 May 2015

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