Hay Festival Debate to Explore Value of Teaching

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Access to good teaching is the single most important factor for a good education. Yet recent surveys reveal that 73% of new teachers have considered leaving the profession. Is society placing enough value on the country’s teachers?

This, and many other questions, will be the subject of a live discussion next week at the world-renowned Hay Festival.

A panel of experts will discuss the changing educational landscape and what those working in the profession, from primary and secondary to further and higher education, can do to aid recruitment and retention.

The panel will feature Professor David Green, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Worcester, one of the Country’s leading educators of teachers; Dr Jonathan Godfrey OBE, Principal of the award-winning Hereford Sixth Form College, Sue Gaston, Headteacher of Fairfield High School in Peterchurch, rated outstanding by Ofsted, and Taylor Cornes, a University of Worcester primary teaching student. It will be Chaired by Ed Dorrell, Head of Content at the Times Educational Supplement (TES).

Professor Green said: “High-calibre, well qualified, teachers are the backbone of our education system, inspiring our children to learn effectively and realise their ambitions and dreams. We must ensure that when teachers go into the profession they receive the right levels of practical support and first-class professional development and opportunity. A thriving teaching profession is absolutely essential. Changes are needed now if we are to avoid a vicious circle of teacher shortage, low morale and declining student achievement.”

Jonathan Godfrey said: “Teachers are still one of the most trusted groups of professionals in the eyes of the public, yet there is a recruitment and retention crisis in our schools and colleges, in part a result of ‘teacher bashing’ in the press and by Ofsted. Despite this, student outcomes continue to improve but action is needed to ensure this continues.”

Sue Gaston added: “Teachers and support staff are the most precious resource we have in school. We need to develop their skills and talents with the right blend of challenge and support, so that they are able to do the same thing effectively for our children. This will need proper resources and forward planning for recruitment, training and development.”

The panel debate is sponsored by the University of Worcester and takes place on Wednesday, May 31 at 5.30pm. The Hay Festival, which is celebrating its 30th year, is widely regarded as one of the world’s top literary festivals, attracting over 250,000 visitors to the small town of Hay-on-Wye.

The debate is part of a series of events being sponsored by the University of Worcester at this year’s Festival. Other talks in the series include:

? Monday, May 29 at 7pm - ‘Using the creative arts to help people with dementia to live well’. Dr Claire Garabedian, a trained music practitioner as well as a researcher within the Association of Dementia Studies (ADS) at the University of Worcester, and Laurence Gardiner, an expert with first-hand experience in living with dementia, will explore ways in which simple use of creative arts approaches can help people and their families to live well with dementia.

? Tuesday, May 30 at 11.30am – Enemies of the People: The role of the judiciary in a democracy. Featuring former West Mercia Police Chief Constable, David Shaw, retired Hereford judge HH Toby Hooper QC, and legal experts from the University of Worcester’s School of Law, and Kingston School of Law, the event will consider the constitutional role of the courts in maintaining a proper balance of power in a modern democracy, following the recent judicial decision on the procedure by which the UK can trigger Brexit.

? Sunday, June 4, at 5.30pm - ‘A new vision for our healthcare system’. A panel discussion which will explore whether, in a time of turmoil for the NHS, there is another way to deliver healthcare in the UK, innovating with new professions, like Physician Associates and Nurse Associates. The panel will be made up of Baroness Hollins, former president of the BMA, Professor Veronica Wilkie, GP and Professor of Primary Care, Charlotte Scott Taylor, a Physician Associate Graduate, and Dr Steven Thrush, a Consultant at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. It will be Chaired by Jane Perry, Associate Head of the University of Worcester’s Institute of Health and Society.

For tickets to any of the events please visit the Hay Festival website at