Schools are relying on inexperienced staff and supply teachers


Seven in ten teachers believe the recruitment crisis is affecting pupil results and attainment, according to a survey of 4,000 teachers across the UK, conducted by The Guardian.

The survey found that job applicants who a few years ago wouldn’t have been offered an interview are today teaching in schools, as the strain of the recruitment crisis filters through the education system.

Seven in ten teachers said the recruitment crisis was affecting pupils; 18 per cent said that, in their school, up to 20 per cent of teachers were supply. Almost eight in ten of those responsible for recruiting (a smaller pool of 544 respondents) said they had struggled to attract new staff: the most common challenges were a shortage of good candidates (93 per cent), a struggle to attract good candidates (65 per cent) and too many teachers leaving the sector (43 per cent).

Certain subjects, and some geographical areas, were particularly hard hit, the survey suggested - for example subject specialist maths teachers. Lack of subject specialist teaching at Key Stage 3 and 4 means students do not have the depth of teaching and learning for GCSEs.

“The lack of quality and suitably qualified teachers, especially in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, means we are reliant on supply teaching or short-term placements,” said one teacher.

An issue mentioned by many respondents was the knock-on effect of experienced teachers leaving the profession, which impoverished the entire system.

Four in ten of those who took part in the survey said they were planning to leave teaching within the next five years, but almost nine in ten said they would be encouraged to stay if there was a better work-life balance. Sixty-three per cent said they’d be encouraged to stay if there was less bureaucracy and red tape, 41 per cent if there was a salary increase and 28 per cent if they had more time with each pupil.

The heart of the problem, the survey revealed, was that, even where it was possible to recruit new staff, their skills could not be developed as they were in the past because of a lack of support from experienced staff – these potential mentors had either left teaching or were themselves overburdened by the demands of filling staffing gaps.

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