The perceived teacher recruitment crisis

Thursday, 27th July 2017

Is there a teacher recruitment crisis? 

Statistics reveal that teaching vacancies are up by more than a quarter while the number of qualified teachers has fallen.

We do not have to look far to find that teacher vacancies have risen by 26 per cent in the past year, adding to concerns regarding the perceived recruitment crisis.

Recently released figures from the Department for Education state that in November 2016, there were 920 vacancies for full-time permanent teachers in state-funded schools, up from 730 the year before.

A further 3,280 full-time teaching posts were being temporarily filled by a teacher on a contract of at least one term but less than one year.

In addition there has been a further increase in the percentage of schools that have at least one advertised vacancy or temporarily-filled post.

Interestingly the DfE report on workforce statistics goes further by acknowledging: “The secondary school population is projected to continue increasing to 3.04 million by 2020 and further until 2025, when it is expected to peak at 3.33 million.”

The overall vacancy rate was 0.3 per cent. The report states: “The teacher vacancy rate remains low and has been around 1 per cent or below (for all teaching posts) since 2000.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “We have a record number of teachers in our schools – 15,500 more than in 2010. The number of new teachers entering our classrooms outnumbers those who retire or leave, and there are more teachers returning to the profession.

“We know that some schools are facing challenges and we are working constructively with the sector to put programmes in place to address them. At the 2015 Spending Review, we announced we would invest £1.3 billion up to 2020 to attract new teachers into the profession.”

Are you struggling to fill your teaching vacancies with high quality professionals?

The opportunity for NQTs in the shortage subjects are endless. I am sure like me you have heard stories of teachers who are successful at interview, offered a position and then wish to open salary negotiations. This is far from the position when I embarked on my career and it was not unusual to turn up to interview to find many highly qualified candidates vying for the same role who were just happy to be employed.

Are teacher recruitment companies the devil incarnate?

We have all suffered the bulk email frustration of finding an advert strategically placed in our inbox that offers an opportunity we cannot turn down, “Vastly experienced, outstanding teacher with extensive professional development looking for a fresh challenge”. As we know the reality is often far from the truth.

Since leaving my post as Head, I have worked with a small number of teachers looking for promotion or teaching careers abroad and graduates looking to embark on a teaching career as they wish to make a difference to young people’s lives. The ability to sift high quality candidates, enhance CVs and application forms and prepare candidates for interview is becoming the role of the education recruiter. Does this need role need to be played by school senior leaders? In my opinion, yes. If we are to aid the perceived recruitment crisis, the ability of agencies to save schools time, energy and subsequently provide high quality candidates, is paramount to the future of our profession.

Castles Education “By teachers for teachers”.

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