Education Workforce Initiative: Initial Research

Wolfenden, Freda; Buckler, Alison; Santos, Cristina and Mittelmeier, Jenna (2018). Education Workforce Initiative: Initial Research. International Commission on Financing Education Opportunity (The Education Commission).

Abstract

The purpose of this initial research is to offer evidenced possibilities in the key areas of education workforce roles, recruitment, training, deployment and leadership, along with suggested areas for further research to inform innovation in the design and strengthening of the public sector education workforce. The examples described were identified through the process outlined in the methodology section of this report, whilst we recognise that separation of examples from their context is problematic – effective innovations are highly sensitive to context and uncritical transfer of initiatives is rarely successful.

The research aims to support the Education Workforce Initiative (EWI) in moving forward with engaging education leaders and other key actors in radical thinking around the design and strengthening of the education workforce to meet the demands of the 21st century. EWI policy recommendations will be drawn from a number of country level workforce reform activities and research activity associated with the production of an Education Workforce Report (EWR). This research has informed the key questions, approach and structure of the EWR as outlined in the Education Workforce Report Proposal.

Issues pertaining to teaching and learning in primary and secondary education are at the centre of the research reported here; the focus is on moving towards schools as safe places where all children/ young people are able to engage in meaningful activity. The majority of the evidence shared here relates to teachers and school leaders; evidence on learning support staff, district officials and the wider education workforce is scant. Many of the issues examined are also pertinent to the early childhood care and education sector but these are being examined in depth by the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative. Resourcing for the Education Workforce was out of scope of this initial research but the EC recognises, as outlined in the Learning Generation Report, that provision of additional finance is a critical factor in achieving a sustainable, strong and well-motivated education workforce, particularly but not exclusively, in low and middle income countries. The next stage of EWI work will consider the relative costs of current initiatives and modelling of the cost implications of proposed reforms.

EWI aims to complement the work on teacher policy design and teacher career frameworks (including salary structures) being undertaken by other bodies and institutions such as Education International, the International Task Force on Teachers for 2030 and the Teachers’ Alliance, most particularly by bringing a focus on school and district leadership, the role of Education Support Professionals (ESPs) and inter-agency working.

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