Schools Minister Nick Gibb said recently: “Recruitment is a challenge as the economy improves and competition for new graduates intensifies, which is why we are focused on attracting more top graduates into the profession, particularly in the core academic subjects that help children reach their potential”.
The UK has a growing school-age population and, according to official figures, there will be 900,000 more pupils in state schools in England over the next decade. The expected number of new pupils is equivalent to around 11,000 additional classes over the next few years alone and there is not sufficient capital to meet this requirement.
To address the shortage, the government needs to go further to attract the best graduates into the profession and then to retain them. Schools do not just need teachers in terms of numbers they need outstanding teachers and outstanding teachers that stay in the teaching profession.
Department for Education figures show almost one in one hundred full-time teaching vacancies in England either remained vacant or were filled by temporary staff in 2014. In addition, there were 1,030 vacancies in November 2014, up by a third on 2013, the highest since 2010, when the department began compiling figures.
Nick Gibb went on to say: ‘Our recruitment campaign ‘Your Future Their Future’ is working, with registrations to our ‘Get into Teaching’ website up by almost 30% compared with last year. We continue to offer bursaries of up to £25,000 as well as scholarships in priority subjects such as physics and maths. We are driving forward our £67m package to transform science, technology, engineering and maths teaching and recruit up to 2,500 additional maths and physics teachers.’
But not all are convinced. Education workforce expert John Howson has said: ‘The acceptances for entry into training in 2015 will not be sufficient…. so we now know that recruitment for some schools, especially in and around London, but not exclusively in this area, will again be a challenge in 2016.’