Teacher recruitment issues

Why is there a teacher recruitment crisis in England?

Back in 2018, TES was already reporting a teacher recruitment crisis in England.

The truth is that now, in 2022, teaching has a real recruitment and retention problem in education across the country.

In this blog, we will look at recent research investigating the causes and suggested solutions to the recruitment crisis in teaching.

What Experts and Research are Saying about the Teacher Recruitment Crisis

Teacher Toolkit

At Teacher Toolkit, readers were asked to provide solutions to the teacher recruitment crisis.

Responses from 95 people suggested some common themes causing issues in the education sector:

  • A problem with decisions made by the government, not based on pedagogy and evidence.
  • Teacher salary
  • Underfunding of schools
  • The expectation of long working hours
  • Lack of time to mark and plan during regular working hours
  • Poor waiting times for CAMHS referrals
  • The negative perception of teachers perpetrated through the media
  • Extra work created by Ofsted inspections
  • MATs removing autonomy from individual schools

John Howson

John Howson is an authority on teacher recruitment as the chairman of TeachVac.

In his blog, he provides some worrying statistics.

Teacher applications for 2022 were 39,288, well below the previous year’s 43,300.

He believes the drop is bad news for teacher recruitment as graduates form the basis of teacher recruitment. With fewer graduates entering the profession, things can only get worse.

John sees the answer as improving retention and encouraging returners back into the profession.

NFER (National Foundation for Education Research)

NFER carried out a comparison between teaching in England and Wales. Their research, published in September 2022, produced some interesting results.

The main findings were:

  • Teachers are more likely to leave Secondary Schools in England compared to Wales.
  • Retention rates are higher in Wales partly due to more teachers working part-time.
  • Teachers in Wales work fewer hours than those in England.

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library published a report in September 2022 by Robert Long and Shadi Danechi.

It shows that teacher vacancies have increased. While the supply target for primary teachers is likely to be met, it will be 34 percentage points below the target for secondary teachers.

It remains to be seen whether the financial initiatives for initial teacher training and early career payments have any real impact on recruitment and retention.

Worryingly, results from the TALIS five-year study into teacher workload show that secondary and primary teachers work far above the OECD average and more than teachers across all participating countries other than Japan.

Final Thoughts

A reduction in the number of teachers compared to pupils puts an increasing strain on staff in education. Alongside balancing budgets in a cost-of-living crisis and increasing workload, it is hard to see how the teacher recruitment crisis can be solved.

Retention is crucial in meeting the demands of schools, and we would encourage teachers who have recently left to consider contacting us regarding returning to the profession.

If your school requires support recruiting teaching staff, please get in touch with us at Strategy Education to see how we can help. With our database of potential candidates and links to ITT providers, we can match the required skills and experience to fill vacancies quickly.

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