The Supply of Teachers

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What are the genuine concerns facing the supply of teachers into the profession?

The Education Select Committee met last week to discuss the Supply of Teachers; the panel raised the issue of teacher recruitment and retention in an evidence session with Nick Gibb, Minister of State, Department of Education.

There were three objectives;

  1. is there a crisis?
  2. what impact is it having?
  3. and if so, what can be done about it?

The Panel:

On the panel from 9.30am were the following witnesses:

  • Professor John Howson, TeachVac,
  • Martin Thompson, Executive Director, National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers,
  • Sam Freedman, Executive Director of Programmes, Teach First, and
  • James Noble-Rogers, Executive Director, Universities Council for the Education of Teachers;

At 10.10am;

  • Russell Hobby, General Secretary, NAHT,
  • Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary, National Union of Teachers,
  • Darren Northcott, National Official for Education, NASUWT, and
  • Emma Knights, Chief Executive, National Governors’ Association

Nick Gibb turned up at 10.15am.

The evidence submitted is here. There is also a letter here from Nicky Morgan MP, Secretary of State for Education.


You can watch the footage by clicking on the image below.

Education Select Committee


  • Timing of the Workforce Census
  • Poor fields for vacancies
  • High costs to advertise
  • Supply agencies poaching graduate teachers to be ‘on their books’ with the promise of guaranteed work
  • High buy out fees to purchase teachers placed by supply agencies
  • Costs of living; plus regional variations
  • Workload
  • Morale
  • Providers, such as Teach First who are unable to place graduates, despite having bodies vs. needs.

I just wonder how many classroom teachers were actually in the room? Until this simple request is met at roundtable meetings, none of our voices will be heard other than anecdotes and word-of-mouth. It was re-assuring to know that this was raised by one of the witnesses.


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2 thoughts on “The Supply of Teachers

  1. Well after reading Nicky Morgan’s letter, linked to above, all I can conclude is that all is well and rosy in the garden that is teaching. What is all the fuss about I wonder. So objective 1 met – there is no crisis so no point in debating #2 or #3. That is until we come back down to earth and look at the roots! The “widely reported statistic that 40% of teachers leave after their first year is simply not true” You can make statistics say almost anything, it just depends what you include and exclude. This article suggests it may be because so many NQT’s don’t start teaching having completed their training.

    If you have to bribe people to teach are you actually attracting the right people to teach? Have you made the teaching environment toxic enough that once trainees experience it they decide it’s not for them? Have we got such a difference between schools that some find it very difficult (impossible even) to recruit teachers? Would we have so many schemes if we had a clearly defined route into teaching that was on social (never mind financial) level with being a doctor or accountant?

    Perhaps these are the questions that should have been debated – not
    “Have we a problem?”
    “Thats okay then.”

    BTW No mention of D&T and we only managed to recruit 40% of the teachers needed. Surely that is a crisis!

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