Teachers lured to work in schools abroad

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Ofsted Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has warned that thousands of teachers are being lured abroad with lucrative pay packages as England's schools grapple with a recruitment crisis.

More people left the UK to teach than trained on English post-graduate routes, Sir Michael said. This has led to shortages of teachers in most subject areas, and many schools are finding it hard to recruit staff.

He quoted International School Consultancy figures which suggested 18,000 people had left the UK to teach abroad in 2015, whilst the demand for UK-trained teachers was only likely to increase as the number of international schools is projected to nearly double to more than 15,000 by 2025.

He said: "England has a serious teacher recruitment and retention challenge on its hands. As a nation, we are simply not attracting enough new entrants into the profession and those we do attract are not applying to schools where they are needed most.

"This is having a detrimental impact on schools right across the country but particularly those located in more deprived, unfashionable and isolated areas."

Sir Michael said that the demand for UK-trained teachers was soaring as English was the most common language used in the estimated 8,000 international schools, many of which follow a British-style curriculum.

"We have to act now to address this growing imbalance. If we do not, all the well-intentioned reforms to school structures, curricula and assessment regimes, of this and previous governments, will be undermined. A school, and a school system, is only ever as good as its teachers," he said.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "Despite the challenge of a competitive jobs market, the proportion of trainee teachers with a top degree has grown faster than in the population as a whole, and there are more teachers overall. We are determined to continue raising the status of the profession.

"That's why we're investing hundreds of millions in teacher recruitment, backing schemes like Teach First and the National Teaching Service to get great teachers where they are most needed, and why we've given schools unprecedented freedom over staff pay, to allow them to attract the brightest and the best."

Recruitment agencies are actively targeting both newly qualified teachers and more experienced classroom professionals from this country, with enticing offers of competitive, usually tax-free salaries, free accommodation and often the prospect of working in warmer, sunnier climes.

School Leadership Today
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