Recruitment challenges for schools in 2016 – 2017.
Despite the DfE figures from November 2014, the latest currently available, and the government’s boast that in 2014 there were more teachers working in schools funded by the state, it seems that now, in 2016 it is becoming more difficult to recruit teachers. Another problem is that the number of pupils is up and are predicted to continue rising. It has been predicted that schools will need to accommodate approximately 800,000 extra pupils by 2020.
Another part of the problem is that although there may (on paper) be sufficient teachers to cover the necessary student-teacher ratio, it is becoming a challenge for schools in some areas to hire suitably qualified and experienced teachers. The primary school sector in particular faces challenges because not enough teachers want to teach at that level.
Across the board there are not sufficient teachers to teach Maths, Physics and Chemistry, a perennial problem. Another challenge to face is teachers’ preferences concerning where they teach. Some parts of the country have difficulties recruiting teachers because they don’t want to relocate to certain areas.
Of course there are also other problems which run deeper than teacher preference. Some would-be teachers are put off doing a teacher training course because of the cost of tuition and so on. If you don’t feel a vocation, why train and put yourself in a situation where you will incur debt because of lack of cash to pay for a teacher-training course? This situation can really only be addressed by the UK government. Bursaries could be given as an incentive to enrol on such a course, especially if students enrolled on the courses that qualify new teachers to teach subjects in which there is a shortage of teachers.
Another problem facing schools is that there are not enough well-qualified and experienced teachers to take up middle leadership posts when more senior colleagues move on. Of course, many are promoted, thus leaving a gap to be filled, but there is a high dropout rate among newly qualified teachers. In 2015 a report published by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) last year found that four out of 10 teachers left the teaching profession within a year of qualifying. In January 2016 the National Audit Office revealed statistics which show that the number of teachers leaving the profession increased by 11 per cent in the three years prior.
Advertising can also be a challenge, but there is help at hand. TalentedTeacherJobs.co.uk can be utilised by both recruiters and would-be teachers. The days when one simply bought a copy of the Times Education Supplement are long gone in this digital age.
Over the coming year other unforeseen challenges may emerge, but hopefully the UK will be able to maintain its record of being one of the best countries to be educated in.