Once again the Government’s target for trainee teachers in England has been missed. This is the third consecutive year, causing concerns of the growing recruitment crisis facing Britain’s schools. This year 94% of the target figure began their initial teacher training course which equates to 28,148 graduates. But is this enough?
The DfE have claimed they have increased their efforts to attract top graduates, however is this enough? There is a widespread belief that the existing recruitment crisis is set to intensify in the next academic year. Due to the increasing numbers of teachers needed in schools and the high level of staff turnover, between 35,000 and 40,000 newly trained teachers are needed every year, a figure that currently isn’t being met.
Experts have also predicted a population spike is due to hit secondary schools from autumn 2016, estimates expect that there will be an extra 800,000 pupils in secondary schools by 2022. This large increase in the need for secondary school teachers was factored into the government’s estimate for the future national need for teachers, known as the Teacher Supply Model. However only 82% of the target for secondary level teachers has been met. The Teacher Supply Model estimated that 18,451 new secondary trainees would be needed for the next academic year alone. Yet only 15,114 were recruited on to courses for secondary subjects this year. This means that there are 3,400 less secondary trainees entering the profession this year than needed. The government however claim that not all teachers entering the state sector come directly from teaching training courses.
The recruitment crisis already has left schools needing to recruit all year round to try and fill their empty vacancies. In 2015, on average each school has advertised roughly 6 vacancies equating to one every two months. Yet the government still claim that teaching “remains a hugely popular profession” with the highest numbers joining since 2008. The NAHT president Tony Draper however believes that “the government needs to invest heavily in the recruitment of teachers and the situation is only going to get worse if they don’t”.
A spokeswomen from the Department for Education said “to help us continue to attract the best graduates into teaching, we are offering a range of bursaries and scholarships for 2016- 17 – worth up to £30,000 tax-free – in the core academic subjects that help children reach their potential.”
But is the government correct in focusing all their attention in recruiting graduates? Figures show that teachers are leaving the profession due to high workloads and stress issues cause by the government policies. Latest statistics show the staff turnover in Britain’s schools is around 7-8% of the workforce. So should the government place a larger focusing on solving why teachers are leaving the profession as well as recruiting new staff?
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