MPs recently warned that teacher shortages in England have reached a “crisis point”, as the Government have failed to come up with a plan to counter the increasing number of students and the lack of staff in core subjects.
A report by the Commons Education Select Committee believes that while the government is making an effort to recruit more teachers, they’re failing to focus on the bigger problem: teacher retention. The committee argue that focusing on retention numbers is “not only... a more cost-effective way to tackle some of the issues, but more teachers staying the profession for longer would strengthen the pool of leadership positions.”
The report highlights a significant problem within core subjects, indicating a lack of qualified staff within roles. Around a quarter of physics teachers, for example, are unqualified in the subject. The report also calls on the Government and school leaders to consider implementing a ‘cap’ on the number of hours teachers work outside of teaching time in an effort to retain staff members.
As you can see in the graphic below, the most cited reasong for leaving the professions is the volume of workload. And the more work, the more 'out-of-hours' a teacher has to put in.
Here at A Star Teachers, we reached out to some industry leaders and government members and asked:
‘What can be done to combat teaching shortages in the UK?’
Find out what they had to say below.
"Teaching shortages are always about government funding and support as well as the amount of pay that teachers receive. It's imperative that the UK government and hiring bodies not only provide adequate funding, but impressive funding. Being average is not acceptable. Teachers need to be compensated with salaries that match up with the importance of their role within society. We need more than a commitment to education from the government. Commitments are meaningless without funds and budget. The students of today are our future and we have to ensure that they always have access to a quality education."
- As a higher education though-leader, writer, consultant, and speaker, Eric Stoller is well versed on the ins and outs of education. His blog gives detailed insight into his thoughts on higher education, his consulting business, as well as being a great place to pick up resources from his presentations.
"This government has the wrong priorities for Education.
Our children's future depends on having the best teachers in our schools, who are properly qualified and trained, well-supported and well-rewarded, with the freedom from unnecessary government interference to get on with providing the best education possible.
The Government's attention should be on the crisis we now face in teacher recruitment and retention, with thousands leaving the profession. Britain is facing a chronic teacher shortage, which is increasing the number of class sizes which are too big. We now have over half a million children being taught in class-sizes over 30 and the problem will only worsen as schools face massive cuts in their budgets.
We need a focus on recruiting and retaining teachers, not the Government’s obsessive focus on structures, reorganisation and regressive, divisive policies."
- Angela Rayner acts as Labours Shadow Education Secretary and as Member of Parliament (MP) for Ashton-under-Lyne. Her previous roles included Opposition Whip and Shadow Pensions Minister.
"Funding, fair funding and more funding."
- Ross Morrison Mcgill is the director of Teacher Toolkit – a place deigned to help give teachers a ‘professional platform from which to be heard’. The site is full of resources, useful and advice, and acts as a great place to connect with likeminded education professionals.
"The lie put out by the government is that if the government spends money it is a 'drain' on the economy. We can and need to invest in productive parts of the economy. There is no more productive part than 'the next generation'. This needs more teachers and more training for teachers. That's how you combat the shortages. My mother was an 'Emergency Trained Teacher' who received her training in 1948, because...the Labour government recognised there were teacher shortages and the way to solve it was to train more teachers! It's been done before. We can do it again."
- Michael Rosen is a writer, poet, performer, and professor of Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths University.
“Too often you hear hyperbole about the teacher recruitment crisis being a ‘perfect storm’ and that we need to batten down the hatches and weather it out. It’s important to drop the doom-mongering and embrace fresh thinking about ways in which people can be attracted into the profession. However, first and foremost, the root causes of the teacher shortage need to be examined and addressed. Retention of teachers is just as important as recruitment of new talent. With volume of workload being cited as the primary reason teachers leave the profession, it’s clear that if this issue is not addressed, the teacher shortage could be a chronic problem for years to come.”
- Patrick Hayes is director of the British education Suppliers Association, who represent over 400 education suppliers across the UK.