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Shortage, what shortage?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by nearmiss, Nov 7, 2015.

  1. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    There it is again, headline news in the TES. https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/teacher-shortages-likely-continue-a-decade
    There is no shortage of teachers. There are tens of thousands of qualified teachers. They have just been hounded out to create an artificial void so any Tom, Dick or Harry who fancies having a go can set themselves up as a teacher. They just won't get paid a professional wage.
    The laws of supply and demand dictate that the price of a commodity in short supply will go up. Either the current administration really has performed some economic miracle, or someone somewhere needs to stop peddling the myth that there is a teacher shortage.
    I've been passed over for a couple of jobs recently, both went to graduates who were not trained as teachers and who had not worked in schools. By rights, being qualified, available and capable of doing the job, I should have been snapped up. A debrief on both jobs fed back that "The other candidate was more suitable". Ironically, one of the jobs has already become vacant again.
    There is a shortage of cash in schools. There is a shortage of common sense in education but there are plenty of teachers.
  2. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    You are joking! We have advertised three times and not recruited anyone, this is for a main scale teacher in a "good" primary school -we pay to scale and have advertised for up to and including UPS. We have been "lucky" if we have had 1 or 2 applicants each time we have advertised, none of them have been able to string a half decent lesson/interview between them ! The post has been filled by ( thankfully excellent) long term supply.We have only now managed to fill the post by dint of poaching someone from another school!!
  3. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Could they all come to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire? So many schools,including "good schools" cannot get anyone.
  4. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    I think we have to accept that the system is broken. The government believes what they believe and will not do anything until classes are sent home. A few posters have said the same but I do not understand while the junior doctors are in the news for balloting to strike this issue (elephant in the room) is just ignored. The sad part of all this market forces thing is does not work in education, hence Aberdeen cannot pay what it takes to get the teachers it needs it only works to decrease pay and conditions.
  5. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    Something I have said in several posts. The government don't care because their children don't go to state schools. (in the main anyway) They weren't educated in the state system and so have no understanding whatsoever of the needs of the state system.

    The government are also flying blind in this as with most things that they do, that is, they haven't a clue. The believe their own propaganda which always a bad thing and part of that is the fallacy that teacher output=pupil output. The result of this (via OFSTED) is the imposition of increasingly impossible work demands in an ever increasing number of schools.

    Management are effectively stuck in between and respond to this by producing an ever more toxic environment either via straightforward bullying or via impossible targets produced from dubious data. Add to this reducing budgets and you have all the necessary ingredients for a perfect storm. (with several more I forgot to mention)

    If you stick to the raw numbers there isn't a teacher shortage, but this doesn't take account of teachers like me (and many others) who are probably never going to teach again. In my part of the country, if a school wants either a maths, science or ict teacher they will probably get no takers. If they go through the agencies then my name will come up again and again because of the number of agencies I have been with over the years. But I'm not offering.

    It will take time (the education system is massive after all) but, unless something very radical happens, the system will gradually implode to the point where students can't be taught. We've been there. In the 1960s there were places in Britain where students were in part time education because there were not enough teachers.

    At this stage it is difficult to know if the system, in its present form can be saved.
    Or indeed whether it should.
    Mangleworzle likes this.
  6. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    If only we had one union representing teachers. The BMA is heard (though maybe not listened to by the Govt) partly because it speaks for the whole body of doctors. Teachers have at least 3 unions who seem unable to agree on a way forward together.
    JL48 likes this.
  7. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Got to agree with @nearmiss

    The problem is the retention of experienced teachers. We're leaving the profession because we're sick of being treated like *****. Simple as that. The source? Bullying SLT interpreting Ofsted directives which in turn come from ignorant political interference.

    Teaching use to be seen as a high stress job but you got solid pay progression and good holidays. Pay progression is gone and holidays are now consumed with work or revision/extra curricular activities run by people scared for their jobs.
    cissy3 and xena-warrior like this.
  8. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    I head up a largish Computer Science (and ICT) department in Kent. We haven't been able to appoint anyone to teach Computer Science for nearly a year now, despite three adverts. We've been using a succession of supply, who luckily have all been excellent, experienced and qualified teachers but jacked their full-time jobs in because the workload issues that had little to do with teaching children was driving them to despair. We have paid an ever-increasing daily rate to the supply teachers' companies, our current one bills us £260 a day.

    And I will be joining them in six weeks, having resigned for the same reason. I had enough of the endless stream of stuff and data collection, tracking, justifying, lack of trust, constantly being challenged to be better etc etc and resigned to take longer holidays and work only supply. I will concentrate on teaching and students and being happy, not data, non-teaching tasks and being stressed out, tired and over-worked all the time.

    Interestingly, my current school asked me to stay on as supply for a while. I think it is best to make a totally clean break but have told them that I will stay on as a supply teacher from the middle of January until Easter to plan, teach, mark, feedback to students, keep records and attend one meeting a week and nothing else, and my daily rate is £300. I hope they say, 'no' but the ball is in their court ......
    les25paul, cissy3, JL48 and 1 other person like this.
  9. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    There are plenty of teachers. They just aren't teaching.

    “If no mistake have you made, yet losing you are … a different game you should play”
    les25paul and indusant like this.
  10. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I'd actually like to think... prefer to think... that this is some underhand conspiracy, that in darkened rooms public schoolboys cackle gleefully about destroying the state education system readying it for privatisation. At least that is understandable, it's a reason.

    But the uncomfortable truth is we're governed by inexperienced, ignorant idiots who don't have a clue what they are doing. And before the Tory brigade leap on me, I feel that statement applies to education since ... the beginning of forever?

    Certainly as true under Blair/Brown as under Cameron and easily applicable to Major too.
    cissy3 likes this.
  11. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I blame Callaghan & his Ruskin College speech...
    irs1054 likes this.
  12. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter


    I know people who put the blame of Callaghan for a different reason. In the 60s schools were told to prepare for an all metric industry, which they did very successfully. When Callaghan went to industry to tell them to move to metric, industry pleaded poverty. Callaghan backed down and then industry started complaining about school leavers who did not know imperial.

    For so long we have had politics based on soundbite after soundbite with no consideration of joining up the dots to see the big picture.
    cissy3 and FolkFan like this.
  13. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    I'd agree with this.
  14. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    This is my feeling how they are doing it too.

    Being a 'teacher' will become an undergraduate stop-gap job, much like working at McDonald's.
    yasf and lanokia like this.
  15. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    I don't posit any kind of conspiracy theory either. It would be foolish to say that the current situation is of this Government's making or part of some dastardly plan. It doesn't help that some education stakeholders also happen to be in a position to divert public funds into private hands.
    I'm not assuming that just because we all work in schools that there is going to be a concensus either. I still teach because I can't go back into the business I was in twenty years ago but I have over seven years until I can access any of my pensions so I have to do something to earn a living. Who knows, in the meantime, pension threshold ages could go up again and I could well be slogging it out.
    Those of us who have not always been teachers, (an awful lot) would be quite happy to be engaged as a classroom teacher if 1. One's subject were still on the curriculum and 2. schools ever interviewed anyone over 50.
    Union referrals clearly show, without any deviation in school type, geographical area or any other variable that women over 50 are far more likely to be put on capability and forced to resign. Even given that women make up a high proportion of the teaching profession, even given that there has been an ageing population within the profession, that still does not counterbalance the trend to cull older teachers. There is too much evidence to argue against this demonstrable trend.
    Now some of us, in fact a lot of us who have not always been teachers, are not in a position to take early retirement on the so-called cast iron pension as they have not made enough contributions for it to yield anything like a living supplement. Those of us who have been working through agencies in the intervening years still cannot pay into the the teachers' pension as agencies don't qualify so the finish line moves further away.
    These are not isolated cases. Hundreds of older agency staff would take a full time job (at least according to current union surveys) but the agency fees and the age prejudice create a barrier. Again, the unions have some solid figures to show that this is the case. If agencies did place all the people on their books, they would be out of business.
    Twinkle, I really do hope that your school is forced to accept Hobson's choice (not in any way implying that you are an old carthorse). I'm glad that people are refusing to work for less or even for free. Teaching is not a profession that can be casualised without causing damage to children's learning.
    It would be interesting to see if the laws of economics do come into play. I have switched subjects now to a short-supply core subject (from MFL to English). The myth that MFL is in short supply also doesn't really hold up - schools have slimmed their MFL departments down from three to two to just one European language, the languages forum shows that there are plenty of langs specialists. However, so many MFL jobs are pretty much a solo act running the whole department so again, I speak from experience, no one wants to do it without being paid accordingly. So I'm just waiting for a few more nervous breakdowns and a few more desperate Heads and I could be back in business.
    I have to say from a personal point of view, going as a supply teacher into a lot of schools, that levels in some schools are going down in terms of expectations. In a year 10 group, I expect a range of skills and knowledge to be in place and for students to understand what grade they are, what their targets are and how to reach them. You can tell within minutes who has had a series of amateur "teachers" and who has been properly taught. I'd happily get stuck in and sort out the issues that the schools are busy denying.
    As long as any government seems to have a policy that seems to be addressing what has arbtrarily been identified as a problem, all will appear to be well.
    In raw numbers, there is no shortage. In fact there is an over-supply as posts on the supply teacher forum attest to. What was the GTC and is now the NCTL would clearly show that there are far more teachers still registered as teachers and available for work than are actually working.

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