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…