Rise in unfilled teaching vacancies

Rise of teaching vacancies blog 100715

According to the Department of Education research there were nearly one in a hundred full time teaching posts in England left either vacant or temporarily filled in 2014, with 1,030 vacancies left unfilled last November which is the highest since 2010.

Workforce expert John Howson has warned that the situation is only going to get worse. “The acceptances for entry into training 2015 will not be sufficient… so we know that recruitment for some schools, will again be a challenge in 2016”. Figures from last year show that only 93% of primary and 91% of secondary teacher training courses were filled last year. Tristram Hunt, Shadow Education Secretary said ministers were going to miss recruitment targets again for a fourth consecutive year.

Not only has the quantity of teachers decreased but has the quality? Research by the Department of Education have uncovered that the proportion of English, Maths and Science teachers with relevant post A-Level qualifications has dropped since 2013. Maths teachers have dropped by 1.8%, English has seen a drop of 0.5% and Science dropped by 0.8%. John Howson upon seeing these findings stated that “this is a very worrying trend that means more children are likely to be taught science by those trained to be PE teachers, and teaching assistants stepping in as teachers”. The government are currently offering bursaries of up to £25,000 for top graduates as well as scholarships for graduates with degree subjects such as Physics and Maths. But is this actually going to attract graduates to teaching?

Schools minister Nick Gibb has achknowledged that there is a problem commenting “recruitment is a challenge, as the economy improves and competition for new graduates intensifies, which is why we are focused on attracting more top graduating students into the profession, particularly in the core academy subjects”. The schools minister continued to say that the current recruitment campaign ‘Your future, their future’, is proving to be a success, with registrations to the website increasing by almost 30% to the previous year.

So are graduates the answer? Nicky Morgan has recently stated that retirees could be the way forward to cure this crisis… but should people without QTS or teaching experience be in charge of the next generation’s learning? What else are the government doing to help this situation? What do you think? Have your say…


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12 thoughts on “Rise in unfilled teaching vacancies

  1. One way to solve the teacher shortage is to simplify the recruitment process. The application process itself is so tedious. Each school or college has its own application form to be filled in. They dont accept ready made CVs which is what all other professions accept.
    Because of this self and other shun away from applying because of shortage of time, energy or patience required to fill in long forms and doing cutting and pasting.

    If the institutions accept WORD document CVs which has the same info, then you can will have more applications from viable candidates.

  2. Recruitment and training takes time the profession doesn’t have- massive resignations from the teaching profession since Gove and Morgan began managing education. Hundred quitting and others taking pay cuts to leave bullying Heads who threaten their careers!

  3. How about an increase in salary for teaching?
    Im a graduate with a 2.1 and my subject area is Human Resources which if i was to go into will be a much higher paid career than teaching however I have chosen teaching as it is something i genuinely want to do. I have however friends with 2.1s and 1.1s who simply base career choices on salary. They see it as – If you’ve spent 3 years working hard to get a 2.1 or a 1.1 are you really going to settle for a 21k wage when they can easily earn so much more working in their subject fields.

  4. Having brought 3 children up, 1 with autism and severe learning difficulties I decided at 46 to train as a primary teacher. I am now an NQT. Over the past year I have worked on a supply basis at over 15 different schools. Along with many other teachers I would be happy to discuss with the Dept for Education why there is a shortage of teachers. At present I am considering re training in order to start my own business.

  5. I work with some older teachers and some retirees who come back and volunteer for specific things and they all say they do not have the energy to manage full classes, let alone a full timetable. Now it is not unusual for teachers to have 22 period timetables and work 60 hours a week. Are we seriously saying 65 year olds could do that 40 weeks a year?

  6. So the government inducement to teach maths or physics is a scholarship (assuming the candidate complies with the conditions) of up to £25000. Alternatively M1 is £21588 assuming the school or academy will offer M1 whilst the graduate (with an additional one year PGCE learning) goes through his/her training year, some school pay on the unqualified scale until QTS is achieved.

    Let’s do the maths which is what we are hoping these bright young people will be good at. If you go for accountancy you can expect an average trainee salary (pre accountancy qualification) of £33000 with 75% of day 1 salaries being over £24000. For banking (before bonuses and management trainee enhancements) £22000, after bonuses £28000-32000. Engineering averages £30000 to 40000 starting pay although the higher end does tend to go to those with engineering degrees. Likewise scientist average around £38000 and although the salary track website I used doesn’t give a range for this occupation anecdotally £30-40k is realistic depending on which industry you find science employment in. I have looked at four alternative career paths for graduates in maths or science, all of which can offer similar job satisfaction to teaching and often with faster salary growth and better work/life balance prospects. Is teaching competing here? – I think not.


  7. The government needs to look seriously at retaining the graduates it attracts as well as attracting more… As an older NQT with an engineering degree and youngish family, I thought teaching might be a good answer, allowing me to spend some time with my own children as well as being “available” during school holidays (even if I was doing some work at home…)

    How wrong! A part time teaching job as an NQT takes significantly more time & is considerably more stressful than my previous job. Plus, when I took leave from my other job, I could genuinely leave the work in the office, as I could each evening when I went home. I won’t even waste my time comparing salaries… They just don’t compare.

    I already know that several of my fellow trainees dropped out during or at the end of the PGCE year. At least one more has gone since.

  8. I have teacher certs in Texas for physics, maths, chemistry and technology. I have a BS and an MS in Engineering and am a licensed Professional Engineer. I also have QTS in England.
    Yet, after applying to, literally, over a hundred schools in the UK (spending over an hour for each application), I have not even had so much as an offer to interview. Quite honestly, I’d work for free if I could get on the NHS (to which I’ve already paid thousands of pounds).
    Hmm… I wonder why there’s a shortage.

  9. I think it is wonderful the government is offering such huge incentives to those with first class honours degree. Does this mean they are going to be amazing teachers? Not necessarily. I got a 2:2 at university and teaching is a passion for me. I didn’t get any government funding during my PGCE year and struggled massively financially. I have just completed my NQT year and have loved every second. The children in my class have made progress way above the ‘national average’ some of them progressing to three years above where they should be. I have energy and enthusiasm that I bring to the classroom every day. I am able to empathise with the children and provide pastoral care when needed. Am I not a very good teacher because I didn’t get a first class degree, am I heck! I put so much time and effort into my job because for me, it is more than that. The government as usual are very short sighted in their ways. As for the recruitment process, it is long and time consuming, but that is teaching for you. I have applied for jobs this year, and the hurdles you have to jump through in the interviews are phenomenal. Maybe the increased fees will put people off! £9000 for a PGCE course is phenomenal, especially when such a high percentage is spent away from the university itself!

  10. The cause here is definitely low teaching salaries, as well as lack of respect for teaching as a profession. In Asia where I’ve mostly lived, specially in Buddhist countries, teachers are definitely given a lot of respect, due to cultural factors. This may have been true in the past in England…the English school system used to be the envy of people worldwide; even today, the best schools in Asian colonies like Sri Lanka were started by British missionaries on the boarding-school model…but it’s no longer true in today’s world.

    Also, today, teaching is a more stressful job, because, due to family breakdown and less religious worship, children are less disciplined than in the past. I would so much rather teach Sri Lankan or hill tribe village children than U.K. children, for this reason! When you spend half your time doing discipline and not teaching, that’s another reason to want another job instead, where you’re working with adults.

    While I don’t know specifically how teaching recruitment works in the U.K., I would say that many people who don’t study or major in Education can teach…for example, my university professors majored in their subject, not Education, and didn’t take lots of Education courses, but they are still good teachers. So many teachers who volunteer or work abroad did not study Education. I planned to work for an NGO and studied Political Science and Anthropology, but got into English teaching in Asia instead afterwards. So a 4-year teacher study and preparatory program is simply not necessarily for a prospective teacher, although I’m sure it can have some benefits.

    I think the idea of recruiting older, retired people is great…older people have wisdom and life experiences they can share with younger children. They may also be good with discipline and moral values. If they are going to teach, they should have a simple, flexible recruitment process with a CV, essay, and interview, and then undergo a free, locally based training program for 3-6 months or so. Their subject should be chosen based on their degree, expertise, and life experience. And the choice of whether they teach older or younger children should be made carefully based on their life experiences, because some people aren’t cut out to teach younger children, and other aren’t cut out to teach teenagers.

  11. I entered teaching (primary) as a mature graduate with 20+ years experience in other occupations. Teaching is unnecessarily tiring, because of poor management. For e.g., I worked in a number of schools where headteachers used teaching assistants for regular whole class teaching. When I began teaching, it was common for older teachers to be driven out, sometimes by workload, often by bullying because of resistance to change. 12 years ago, there were always young things snapping at the heels of the older teachers, willing to step into leadership roles. Just before I decided to give up, it was noticeable that young, committed teachers were feeling the strain also. It is not just that older people may not be able to keep up the pace, but that anyone with experience other than teaching will be shocked by the poor management and leadership in teaching and unwilling to work under it. As an NQT, I worked for a single term in a temporary post for an amazing headteacher who managed well and knew about learning. Workload was manageable and stress minimized. Staff felt supported. There has been a downward spiral, in primary education at least, of managers who can’t manage and commonly know naff all about learning. What a dire state of affairs!

  12. I am not at all surprised in the number of unfilled vacancies and training places. I resigned in December last year after 6 years as a primary school teacher. I was initially working 80 hours a week (full-time) and so, to have a life, went part-time (2 days). I was still doing 35 hours a week! Unrealistic expectations, pointless bureaucracy and bullying management made me stressed, unhealthy and unhappy. I tutor now, supply and have a temp 2 day a week Interventions teacher job starting in September. Am far happier and will NEVER EVER go go to being a class teacher, even though I love the kids and was put forward for the Outstanding Teacher Programme. I know so many who have also left or feel the same. Teaching is in a mess.

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