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‘Teacher supply crisis’ hitting England schools

England‘s schools are suffering from worsening teacher shortages, particularly in key subjects including physics and maths, MPs have warned.

In a highly critical report, the Commons Education Select Committee said the Government has missed recruitment targets for the past five years in a row.

And it called for urgent action, including a stronger focus on retaining teachers and a cap on the number of hours teachers work.

The report suggests “recruiting new teachers has consistently been the Government’s focus to address shortages”.

It added: “While recruiting sufficient new teachers is, of course, necessary, the Government should place greater emphasis on improving teacher retention.

“Not only is this a more cost-effective way to tackle some of the issues, but more teachers staying in the profession for longer would strengthen the pool of leadership positions.”

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said: “This report should act as a wake-up call to ministers that falling back on sticking plaster solutions such as the failed National Teaching Service will do nothing to address the systemic causes of the teacher supply crisis.”

A young girl writes letters at a playgroup for pre-school aged children in Chilcompton near Radstock in Somerset, England
Video: Over 280,000 kids at nursery with no qualified teacher

Committee chairman Neil Carmichael warned that ministers must put in place a long-term plan to tackle issues with recruitment and retention of school staff.

The report argued that while ministers recognised there were issues, they had not addressed the problem and lacked a long-term plan to do so.

It said a key reason for teachers leaving the profession was workload.

In Nottingham, education chiefs have produced a charter for schools to sign that caps the amount of time teachers work beyond their directed hours – including tasks such as marking work and planning lessons.

Mr Carmichael, Tory MP for Stroud, said: “Schools are facing significant teacher shortages as a result of the Government consistently failing to meet recruitment standards.”

Teacher training targets, including in core English Baccalaureate subjects which give teenagers a good academic grounding for the future, have also been missed.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said: “There are more teachers in England‘s schools than ever before with secondary postgraduate recruitment at
its highest since 2011.

“We are investing more than £1.3bn in recruitment over this parliament and have recruited more trainees in key subjects like physics and maths than last year.

“We recognise there are challenges. The Secretary of State has set out her ambition to continue driving up standards through investment in professional development so the best teachers stay in the profession.”

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: “Recruitment targets are being missed, school budgets are being cut for the first time in decades and we have thousands more unqualified teachers teaching in our schools.”

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