Has the DfE got its head in the sand? And does anyone know what they are doing?
Teacher vacancies have rocketed, with more and more teachers employed without a degree in their subject and more and more leaving the classroom altogether, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).
Cutbacks and changes to teacher training make sourcing new teachers increasingly complicated.
Meanwhile it’s all too easy for education ministers to believe there is no recruitment crisis when government officials say it is extremely hard to predict the right number of teachers needed each year. But let me tell you what it’s like recruiting and retaining teachers on the ground; even in a capital city full of millions of people.
There is a crisis in recruitment, not helped by low pay, the tangled and defragmented employment process and the Department of Education massaging the figures. And there’s no sign that this shortage will improve!
At least two or three times a week, I negotiate with supply agencies, bartering daily rates and buy-out fees to employ support and teaching staff. Over the past 18 months, we tracked data from more than 25 agencies to gain an overview of buy-out fees, contracts and clauses to ensure best value.
It transpires that supply agencies are mass-purchasing groups of newly qualified teachers and taking them straight out of the interview circuit to keep them on their books (for a profit). They are also interviewing teachers from overseas en-masse to farm teachers out to schools in areas most in need.
This is useful if you head up a multi-academy trust in need of many teachers, or you lead a supply agency, but for standalone schools the teachers who used to be on the market are quickly dissipating and our recruitment hopes are dashed from the outset.
What does this research show about the situation? To read my full article, click the image below.
This is a preview. Click the image to view the full article.
This is my fifth published article for @SchoolsWeek, a weekly newspaper covering all schools. Schools Week is a printed and online weekly newspaper covering the schools sector in England; aimed at those with a broad interest in education policy and finance, typically aspiring, middle/senior managers, leaders and governors across all schools.