Education Secretary Phillipson begins push to recruit 6,500 new teachers

Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson arrives for the first meeting of the Cabinet of the new Labour government in Downing Street
Ms Phillipson says she wants to 'transform the image' of teaching [EPA]

The new education secretary has begun work to recruit 6,500 teachers, the Department for Education (DfE) said.

Bridget Phillipson will write to "all education workforces" on Monday in a bid to "reset the relationship" with the sector.

The DfE said Ms Phillipson would also meet union bosses and other education leaders in the coming days.

And the government will immediately resume and expand the teacher recruitment campaign Every Lesson Shapes a Life, the DfE said.

The scheme directs potential candidates to the Get Into Teaching website, where they can find support and advice from teacher training advisers, a contact centre and a national programme of events.

Labour pledged during the election campaign to make the recruitment of 6,500 teachers a priority of the new government.

The party said it would fund the new posts by adding tax to private school fees - although it is unclear exactly when this will happen.

The policy, proposed in Labour’s manifesto, has split opinion. Some argue it is a reasonable way to raise revenue while others think it is an unfair charge that will fall on parents.

Ms Phillipson said she wanted to put education "back at the forefront of national life" and "transform the image" of teaching.

The DfE said this was key to fixing the crisis in the recruitment and retention of teachers.

Ms Phillipson said writing to workforces on Monday was her "first priority".

She said the teaching profession had been "talked down, sidelined and denigrated" for too long.

Teaching unions had strained relations with the previous government and several days of strikes took place across the UK last year over pay.

It is not yet clear what the pay offer will be for teachers this year but unions have welcomed Ms Phillipson's appointment.

Daniel Kebede, general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said it was "absolutely vital" the relationship between ministers and the teaching profession was reset.

"After the chaos of recent times, NEU members are hopeful that Bridget Phillipson will usher in a period of stability and seriousness at the Department for Education," he added.

He called for Ms Phillipson to immediately publish the 2024/25 pay and funding offer for schools to right the "first of many wrongs" of the previous government.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), congratulated Ms Phillipson on her appointment but said "we should not underestimate the scale of the task the new government will now face".

"NAHT stand ready to work with the new government and we look forward to working with Bridget and her team in years ahead,” he said.