The teacher shortage continues to take hold

Did you know that 42,050 teachers left the profession during 2015 and another 53% are considering leaving this year?

These statistics highlight a major problem with brain drain, but you might believe that the resulting gap is being plugged with newly qualified teachers. Not quite! With 11,000 young teachers leaving the profession during training, one has to believe that the industry is in a near crisis.

The Times Education Supplement reported that schools are spending £733 million on supply teachers to help plug the gap and continue to support each child’s right to a decent standard of education. But the standards of teaching are slipping and certain subjects are suffering more than others. According to the BBC, the increased requirement for 3,102 Mathematics teachers this year alone has led to some primary school teachers giving lessons after just a few hours of subject training.

But how did it come to this and why has the profession fallen out of favour?


Top five reasons for the teacher shortage

  • Increased number of pupils

During this decade and into 2020 the school population is estimated to grow by 900,000 pupils. This is a result of the birth rate boom a few years ago. Primary schools are already feeling the pressure of an increased pupil intake and soon this problem will transfer to secondary schools. It is predicted that secondary schools will experience a 20% increase in pupil numbers between now and 2024. Increased pupil numbers means more teachers are required to maintain the required class size of 30. Increased pupil numbers means more teachers.


  • Graduates are not entering the profession 

With the economy recovering, graduates are less likely to enter the teaching profession. Perhaps this is because their average starting salary would be £5,000 lower than for other graduate jobs. There’s also the added expense of the Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) status, so many graduates are simply timing out.


  • The burden of administration, working hours and criteria has increased 

With curriculum changes, increased pupil numbers, increasing administration time and a culture that support long-term absence for those who choose the dark side, many teachers are working longer hours to cover all the extra tasks that occur away from the classroom.


  • The route into teaching has changed 

The route into teaching was radically reformed by Michael Gove when he was Education Secretary, and teacher training was overhauled. Higher educational courses were no longer favoured and the School Direct scheme was put in place. School Direct consequently increased the pressure placed on schools to upskill graduates to teacher level. Schools, already feeling the increased burden of targets, inspections and increased pupil intake, are ill-equipped to take on fresh graduates and train them. The Schools Direct model raises important questions and could be inadvertently contributing to the teacher shortage.


  • Ongoing budget cuts

In a recent survey by BESA, 72% of secondary schools said they were not confident about next year’s budget. With a £600 million cut to comprehensive spending, the next budget is likely to result in the lowest amount allocated to education in decades. With a smaller budget many are at risk of bankruptcy so are implementing as many efficiency savings as possible. People are now unsure about the long-term security of a teaching career and the profession is losing its previous reputation as offering a job for life.

The Department for Education currently dismisses claims of a teacher shortage, so the solution might be solely up to you. Perhaps it’s time for schools to think aggressively as they target full headcount, despite the diminishing available talent pool.  Operating more competitively, more quickly and more smartly than the school next door can only help to court and secure the right people.

Perhaps it’s time for an Applicant Tracking System. Get to more people more quickly and manage the whole process faster than your competitors, all without effort.  Support rapid communication, shared shortlisting and an easier process for your candidates in a system that’s easy, accessible and improves your outcomes.

Why not take the first step by contacting XperiSoft Limited on 01634 202 101 or reading one of our case studies to see how easy it is to change the way you recruit forever. Stay ahead of the game.  Stay ahead of your competitors.

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