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Could mentoring provide key to teacher retention?

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Published on 28 June 2023

Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s
Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s

A national conference explores the role mentors play to support trainee teachers at the start of their career and how they could help stem the current flow of those leaving the profession early. 

Held at the University of Sunderland (Friday, June 30th), the MentorEd conference shines a spotlight on the vital work School Based Mentors now play in supporting trainee teachers through to achieving Qualified Teacher Status, and beyond in the early stages of their careers.

With the latest Department for Education (DfE) figures showing almost 40,000 working-age teachers left the profession in 2022, the highest number since records began in 2010, and with lower teacher training applications, particularly in the north-east, conference organisers say it’s never been more important to focus on mentoring.

Trainee teachers have always had mentors, but since 2021, the role has been enhanced due to new DfE frameworks in teacher training (the Early Career Framework and Core Content Framework). Mentors model theory in action, deconstruct lessons and act as a support to new teachers.

Some of the UK’s leading education experts, including Professor Stuart Kime (Evidence Based Education), and DfE advisor Professor Sam Twiselton will share their experience and views on the challenges facing the sector, as well as future solutions.

MentorEd is an in-person event, also being streamed to thousands of educators worldwide. It has been organised by Haili Hughes, a renowned speaker who wrote the bestselling book 'Mentoring in Schools', and is currently part-seconded to the DfE to work on Initial Teacher Training (ITT) policy. Haili also lectures at the University of Sunderland and is Principal Lecturer in Mentoring and Professional Development.

She says: “We are trying to turn the tide on the current low early career teacher retention rates, helping to keep teachers secure and happy in the classroom.

“The support new teachers get is vitally important and can have a profound impact their careers and whether they want to stay in the profession.”

Haili, an established author, mentor and teacher of 15 years, added: “The country is now experiencing the lowest number of teacher training applications, especially in the north-east at the moment, an area with some of the most disadvantaged pupils, so it’s never been more important to have effective mentors now. Our conference sets out why we must get the most effective teachers to ensure the quality of pupils’ education is not further compromised.”


For more information about this conference at the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s (12noon to 4pm) click here.

For further information about Centre for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching click here