Mark Whitehead 23 March 2023

Teacher vacancies nearly double

Teacher vacancies nearly double image
Image: miya227/Shutterstock.com.

Vacancies for teachers have nearly doubled this year compared to before the COVID pandemic, according to the latest figures.

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) is calling for a long-term strategy on teacher pay to halt what it calls the growing school workforce crisis.

It says the forthcoming pay award should be more than inflation to improve recruitment and retention and there should be a long-term plan to improve the competitiveness of teachers’ pay.

The foundation’s latest report says the number of vacancies posted by schools was 93% higher in the academic year up to February 2023 than at the same point in the year before the pandemic.

It also warns that recruitment to teacher training in 2023/24 is likely to be seriously below target.

It says nine out of 17 secondary subjects including physics, computing, design and technology, business studies, modern foreign languages, religious education, music, drama and art and design – are expected to be 20% or more below target.

Co-author of the report Jack Worth said: ‘Schools are being forced to stumble from budget to budget and strike to strike without the help of a clear strategy designed to address a worsening recruitment and retention crisis.

‘School leaders are increasingly resorting to the use of non-specialist teachers to plug gaps which will ultimately affect pupil attainment outcomes.

‘The 2023 teacher pay award should exceed 4.1% – the latest forecast of the rise in average UK earnings next year – to narrow the gap between teacher pay and the wider labour market, and improve recruitment and retention.

‘This should be accompanied by a long-term plan to improve the competitiveness of teacher pay while – crucially – ensuring schools have the funds to pay for it.’

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