Quality or quantity?

080515 blog james

Recent research carried out by the NAHT (National  Association of Head Teachers) has shown that over 60% of school leaders who took part, struggled to recruit teachers for leadership roles, with over a quarter of senior positions advertised in the UK left unfilled last year.

Statistics have shown that 50% of head teachers are set to retire in the next 10 years, with 25% of these looking to retire within the next year. Also, with 67% of deputy head teachers showing no ambition to move further up the ladder lots of schools will desperately be looking to recruit leaders.

The NAHT survey was conducted on 1,178 school leaders from across the country who stated that Maths and English proved to be the hardest roles to recruit for. A total of 40% of schools failed to fill their empty Maths vacancies and 32% of all English vacancies were left unfilled. Possibly the most significant finding is that this crisis is not necessarily down to the lack of teachers applying, but down to the quality of candidates. 40% of leaders blamed a shortage of teachers for the crisis; however a total of 41% said it was down to the poor quality of the candidates applying. Tristam Hunt believes that this is down to the fact teachers are allowed to work without qualified teaching status, labelling them as unqualified. But is this really affecting quality? Louis Coiffait, who leads NAHT Edge, a service set up to help teachers with management responsibilities stated “we are facing a recruitment crisis at all stages of the education system. Until we address it… there’s no chance that we will have the quality or quantity of head teachers we need in the future”.

According to the leaders asked, 73% expressed concern about newly qualified teachers (NQTs’) ability to control pupil’s behaviour in lessons, and 58% were concerned about NQTs’ lack of subject knowledge. Does this mean that the qualifications needed aren’t in fact helping prepare future teachers, rendering Tristam Hunt’s desire for all teachers to gain QTS pointless?

Even with the quality of teachers being outlined as a key issue it doesn’t change the fact that there are less people training to become teachers now more than ever. Applications for joining the teaching profession have declined by 27,000 in the last 12 months. This has meant the budget has had to be stretched even further due to the lack of ability to fill empty vacancies. Last year alone the government had to spend in excess of £50 million to ensure lessons could be covered.

So is this a matter of quantity or quality? If quality is the issue then why are NQTs not being trained to the standards expected by British schools? Or is there simply not enough people wanting to join the profession? What do you think? Have your say…


5 thoughts on “Quality or quantity?

  1. I trained as a primary school teacher and have QTS however as a newly qualified teacher I do feel my subject knowledge in English and maths still needs building upon because of curriculum changes and new teaching style in schools being introduced. Since qualifying I’m 2011 I have looked for a NQT position but increasingly found my confidence knocked by rejection. I will admit that new teachers need more support at first but many are thrown into a teaching position with out induction or sufficient mentoring guidance. It is easy to criticise poor teaching but where is the encouragement and nurture for new teachers, who have committed to the career and from time to time need training and support. Personally I don’t know whether I will complete my NQT year as I feel let down. What a shame as I’ve worked in education for 15 years from teaching assistant , nursery nurse and PPA cover . I chose to become a teacher but now have university debt and a professional qualification but little job security.

  2. The gov/LEA should try harder to keep the good teachers they have in the first place. I started teaching 17 years ago, working passionately for those in my care for 16 years at the same school and achieving good results. I became dep head, with performance valued by two head teachers during that time. A third head teacher joined the school and I couldn’t seem to do anything right. She threatened staff regularly n I stood it for as long as I cd, before resigning due to depression. I moved to another school in a severely challenging area of Wales, where a dep head position was due to be advertised. Having been there for just two weeks, a group of street wise children was heard by staff to be plotting at break times about who wd shout abuse at me each day. Parents spread lies on face book and I had to undertake investigation. Having been completely exonerated, I returned to school for the final week of term. I applied for numerous teaching posts but as my salary was high, I could not get an interview, and the Union wd not allow me to negotiate salary. I am now employed everyday as a supply teacher, which is stress free but does not give me enough challenge. I go to a wide range of schools and see so many ways that improvements cd b made bt am powerless to help. Had LEA given appropriate support, I could have been a head teacher by now. I’m sure there must be many teachers with similar stories to mine. The gov shd not allow good teachers and deputies to slip thro the net!

  3. Lets be honest the pay is crap, political correctness is all the rage, head-teachers recruit a safe pair of hands rather than a maverick with excellent subject knowledge etc, no wonder the state sector is so bad where dumbing down is all the rage, is it any wonder??

  4. I’ve been trying to find a permanent teaching job for the past 9 years. I’ve been to numerous interviews, the students loved my lessons, the teachers observing me said my teaching was great but… I never got the job. There was always a 25 year old NQT who got hired. I’ve had over 25 years of teaching experience, excellent subject knowledge ( I’m fluent in French, German, Spanish) but I was never able to get nothing more than supply work.
    Let’s admit it. If you’re over 35 there is no way you can get a job as a teacher regardless of your knowledge and experience. Why are they complaining they can’t fill their positions? There are thousands of teachers out there who can’t get a job just because they’re over 35!
    When I was doing my PGCE 9 years ago, we went to France for 3 days; most of my MFL colleagues wouldn’t trust themselves to order a coffee in French. Well, all of them (under 30’s) got a job after we finished the PGCE year. All 4 of us who were over 40 still haven’t got a permanent teaching position. Can we possibly talk about quality teaching? And all the talk about equal opportunities and no age discrimination is simply political correctness. The facts are different…

  5. Maizie , you are not alone.
    I worked for 11 years in a school, giving it my all. I knew families inside out.
    I loved working there.
    Times were tough always, but we were a great staff and stuck together.
    I was key stage leader. The school went into special measures. Ofsted and hmi were in all the time. I got blamed for things I never knew about, because senior leadership was deemed unsatisfactory, an executive head came in. The head was pushed away and so was I. My face didn’t fit. I had great year2 results but apparently I had become an unsatisfactory teacher.
    I fought for a year, because it was all a lie and I wasn’t going to let them throw away all my years of hard work.
    Then I resigned. I walked away and no one bat an eyelid.
    Like I d never been there.
    I often feel they stole my career away. Because I wasn’t part of their ready made agenda as they walked in through the for.
    The head never returned either.
    All a sad story.
    Don’t let what could have been spoil your life. They had you and they let you go, it’s their hard luck. More the fool them because good leaders don’t come by often ….

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