Schools ministers denial of a teacher recruitment crisis doesnt ring true, says TLTP Education
Gibb was quoted as saying that he didn’t believe there was a recruitment crisis and that the government is managing the challenge of filling teacher vacancies.
His comments were made days before it was revealed that nearly one in 100 full-time teaching posts in England were either vacant or filled temporarily in 2014, and that teacher vacancies had increased by a third in a year.
Darryl Mydat, Managing Director of TLTP Education, says that Mr Gibb’s comments demonstrate a lack of understanding of the situation on the ground. Mydat says, “It seems as if the Minister is a little out of touch. Demand for full time teaching staff is high and the challenge for us as a recruiter - as it is for schools - is finding candidates of a sufficient quality and experience to fill those vacancies. We recorded a 200% year on year increase in permanent education placements at the start of the academic year in September but we need more to be done to make teaching an attractive proposition.”
Mydat says that many UK teachers are looking overseas for jobs or away from teaching completely as they feel that changing OFSTED criteria, the new curriculum and the ever-changing teaching landscape mean that, for many, it feels like a less secure and less rewarding career than it has been for many years.
“It may be that schools need to give greater consideration to the growing number of teachers from across the EU looking for posts in the UK, provided their language skills are acceptable, because, as EU citizens, they automatically have QTS status. We have added nearly 500 candidates to our database in the last couple of months, so we there are teachers out there looking for jobs and we are working hard to match them to vacancies we are aware of.
Mydat says that decisions need to be taken urgently and not just to offset short to medium term shortages.
“The pressure on primary school places has been widely reported. That will soon begin to add pressure to secondary school rolls. I have seen suggestions that by 2022 – that’s just seven years away – there will be an additional 800,000 pupils in the system. We need to be catering for them now. That’s why we need to retain teachers, attract teachers back to the profession and take advantage of well qualified, English-speaking teachers who want to work here.”
Mydat says that any initiative that makes the profession attractive is to be welcomed as it is very much a candidate-led market at the moment.
“There is a skills shortage not only in the core subjects like Maths, Science and English but also in ICT and design and technology. If we can find a way of attracting former teachers back to the profession and smoothing the way for English-speaking teachers to get their QTS accreditation, then there are jobs out there to be filled.”
TLTP is one of the few education recruiters to hold the REC Gold Award, the benchmark for safeguarding.