Schools facing a potential teacher recruitment crisis


eteach Blog teacher shortage 1 06.12.14

Schools in England have been warned about an up and coming teacher recruitment crisis. Results have showed that there is a severe lack of students being trained in vital academic subject areas. More than 2,000 training places have been left empty this year, and figures showing that the government has missed its recruitment targets in key subjects three years in a row. It has been found that physics and the language sectors are the subjects suffering the most, with research indicating that 33.5% of physics teachers in secondary schools don’t have a relevant degree.

The Department for Education has estimated that by the next decade, there will be an extra 800,000 students entering England’s secondary schools. This yields the question, if England’s schools are struggling now what are they going to do in the coming years? In the past schools have been forced to rely upon supply teachers,  increased class sizes or even hiring staff who lack the proper qualifications. Putting unqualified teachers in front of larger class sizes doesn’t seem good enough for our future generations.

Some schools have been looking overseas to try and solve this issue, bringing in teachers from Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In an attempt to try and increase the amount of teachers being trained the Department for Education are offering increased bursaries worth £25,000 tax free to graduates training in priority subjects. Increasing the salaries and having generous bursaries could be persuading for some, but the country needs teachers who want to teach and are not just there for the pay cheque. To do this the candidate learning needs to know that they are doing something really important, engaging with young and bright minds that could potentially shape the future world.

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2 thoughts on “Schools facing a potential teacher recruitment crisis

  1. I used to teach in a state school in the U.K. and I left for a number of reasons to work overseas in a private school. I left for the following reasons: too much of an unnecessary emphasis on health & safety- I had to write an action plan to take my P.E. classes 25m nest door into the local sports hall, I had to run a club after school hours unpaid, there was an extremely unruly pupil put into my class from a referral unit – havoc was the result with little support, I could name more. Is it any wonder there is an up and coming teacher recruitment crisis when teachers have to put up with such crap.

  2. Solutions to the recruitment problem need to be approached in a methodical way.

    If there are problems recruiting Physics and Language teachers then the short term solution is that they need to be paid more than other teachers. However, it may be necessary to go back a step or two and, for the longer term, ensure that sufficient students are taking Physics and appropriate languages at university. The idea of offering bursaries to suitable students is a sensible way forward.

    If, as Paul outlines above, a few disruptive students are being allowed to disrupt the education of the majority then they must be removed. Currently, it is very difficult to remove students; this process must be made easier. If there are generic reasons why students are disruptive then these need to be addressed; this may mean that more practical learning is available for students who are not suited to academic learning.

    I don’t like taking teachers from abroad as this can damage the education of students in other countries and I don’t like supply teaching, as the quality of teachers can be very variable. However I recognise that this is a solution and if we are not producing enough of our own teachers.

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