Election 2015: New policy must address teacher shortage
The recruitment company says a classic case of this was experienced in 2011 when the Liberal Democrats were forced to make an embarrassing U-turn on its policy to scrap tuition fees.
As the 2015 election fast approaches, Connex Education is warning that political parties must be realistic about what can be delivered within planned post-election education policies promised, as the sector continues to suffer from an unprecedented shortage of teachers.
The caution follows a pledge made by the Conservative party to create at least a further 500 free schools in England by 2020, but questions remain as to where the qualified staff needed to support this policy would come from.
A survey of 97 head teachers across England commissioned by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has found that the Education sector is on the brink of a national crisis, with schools facing a shortage of teachers in subjects such as geography, foreign languages and religious education.
Connex, a specialist in recruiting and placing qualified teachers, warns that the support structure around proposed policies from parties must be carefully considered in order for promises made to be delivered successfully.
Mark Beedles, managing director at Connex Education, says: “The current reality in education recruitment is that some schools are receiving less than a handful of applicants for every job post that becomes available. A potentially toxic mix of increasing pupil numbers, financial constraints and barriers to attracting graduate talent means that above-average vacancy rates persist in key subjects.
“At a time of increased pressure on budgets, it’s clear that current efforts from employers in education to fill vacancies are falling short and that future policies do need to address this. Equally, it’s important that promises are not made by any party that cannot be kept in order to secure votes. Gaps in education recruitment can be detrimental to the learnings of pupils and as an immediate problem facing the education sector, it’s vital that this issue is addressed as soon as possible.”