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UK Teacher Recruitment crisis?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by JL48, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter


    So - we know the figures, but is it real?

    I don't teach Maths, English or Science, however back in the early 2000s I could walk into any area, and pick up a job at a school fairly quickly and easily. I have a job, am very happy in it, and don't want to move on, but really don't get the impression I could get the amount of offers now that I did then.

    So - is there really a crisis in teacher recruitment? Or is it just that the glut is over? Would love to hear opinions, plus experience from people who have actually been out there looking for jobs.
    201017585 likes this.
  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    It's not a recruitment crisis, So-So, it's a retention crisis.
    201017585 likes this.
  3. xena-warrior

    xena-warrior Star commenter

    We seem to have a never-ending stream of trainees through our doors. Can't remember the last time we took on a non-NQT for a job though.
    People are getting out as soon as they can. For most that won't be while they have a mortgage or a young family, but not many are clinging on until they're 67. The mode age of our staffroom is about 29. I left teaching eight years ago and even then I was the second-oldest member of teaching staff. I was 50. Even the HT was younger than me.
  4. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Even the traditional revolving door recruitment procedures won't work if they speed up the door, stories of NQT's under threat in their first half term for not getting good or outstanding from lesson obs are turning up on here now.

    Stupidly difficult hoops to jump through for brand new teachers being judged by non-supportive management who are too quick to get rid than risk any blot on their own copybook.
    201017585 and snowyhead like this.
  5. indusant

    indusant Senior commenter

    'People are getting out as soon as they can.' - xena-warrior

    I am one of these people - despite teaching being my dream for many years. Although I am recently fully qualified and should be looking forward to a long career I have been left completely disillusioned with the current system. I have been around lots of places on supply have found that schools that are genuinely pleasant places to work are few and far between. Many schools have a stressed/ tense atmosphere and it's easy to gauge that many staff are not happy. I suspect that many more would leave yet they are trapped. It's a sorry state and it's little surprise that mental illness (stress/ depression etc.) among the kids is now common. It seems to me that the system could easily be a whole lot simpler and happier.

    Teaching is hard enough without all of the obstacles/hoop jumping. After a few years I've been left with no desire or motivation to jump through any more hoops and want to just 'be'. I am able to escape before I am trapped with a mortgage etc and am now looking at jobs that pay around half of a teacher's salary. I have come to the realisation that happiness and well being are more important in life.
    emerald52 and Scintillant like this.
  6. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    This from the STRB 2015:



    @JL48 you can draw your own conclusion from these statistics.
  7. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Slightly fewer people applying, and slightly more people leaving.

    However, what about the vast number of NQTs that couldn't get posts a couple of years ago - did that dry up? I'm not seeing the vast number of job adverts now that I remember seeing in the (pre-recession) past.
  8. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Really? My LA currently has 57 primary teaching posts on their recruitment website - all January 2016 starts. Two years ago there would have been about a dozen or so.
  9. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    My first teaching job interview:

    "What school would you like?"
    "I think "soandso" would be OK."
    "We can do that."
    JL48 likes this.
  10. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Was that in the old days of LA NQT pools? They seem to have gone by the wayside due to lack of NQTs to put in the pool.
  11. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    Nope, in Scotland. You applied to the LEA and were allocated a school except if you were in a shortage subject like physics:) where you had be wary of your arms.
    JL48 likes this.
  12. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    I was thinking more 12 to 15 years ago, than 2 years ago. My impression from 2 years ago was that there were about 200 teachers chasing every position advertised. I wonder what would be considered normal?
    hermitcrabbe likes this.
  13. hermitcrabbe

    hermitcrabbe Established commenter

    I am not convinced by much of this. Parts ring to experience, parts do not.

    In some subjects there has always been a "shortage" apparently.I was talking to a teacher who trained in 1978 the other day who told me that back then there was a shortage of maths teachers back then. Except there really was not, the shortage was regional ( London) and in challenging schools.

    However, jobs were available if you applied for enough. This was short lived it seems as the recession of the 1980's drove many young graduates into teaching ( and at that time schools had falling rolls because of a lower birth rate). Sound a bit familiar? It should do, I recall a similar situation when I began teaching in the 1990's - and another in the 2000's. The latter, there were more teachers than you could shake a stick at. Then again in 2008 when all the bankers got made redundant and came into teaching , and a little later it was ex service men. I have seen them all pass through the doors as trainees.

    I started teaching in 1992. It was one of those "lulls" when supply and demand seemed in sink to a point. However, even then getting a job as a newly qualified teacher (no NQT and probationary year had been scrapped) was not easy. I remember at my first interviews being told that back then there was a requirement from the LA that schools take the most experienced teachers first,so as an inexperienced teacher, I was bottom of the heap.

    This soon changed though as budgets impacted.Then it became NQT's only because they were cheap and cheerful, and not a lot has changed since. If I tried to move jobs now, I could not. No one wants an experienced teacher anymore, even those of us who have weathered many storms in poor schools, dealt with changes and still keep on going. .We may be few and far between, reliable and hard working but we are not younger and/ or cheap. I have not moved to UPS by choice because I found out a few years ago that I was not going to get another job as a teacher on top of main scale.

    Many do not stay the course it is true. Some never get jobs. I mentioned elsewhere the fate of many I trained with or worked with when a younger teacher. However, even those of us who have stayed the course, frankly, redundancy is a prospect facing us often. If lost my job, despite this so called recruitment and retention " crisis", I would be on the scrapheap. I cannot see myself ever getting another job in teaching,not because I wouldn't like one but because I am too old, too male, too well qualified, too experienced, too expensive .....just too much.

    Pick the bones out of that. Personally I think the crisis it is all hype.
  14. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    This is what I was wondering. By shortage of teachers, do they actually just mean shortage of cheap NQTs?

    During the recession there was a flood of people going into teaching, as there were no graduate jobs. At the same time, as we can see above, you could treat teachers however you liked and they would stay as they were frightened of leaving. Things have changed, but the powers that be have got used to treating teachers badly, and are moaning as they are no longer getting away with it scot-free.

    My impression is that the right are happy to talk up a teacher recruitment crises as it will allow them to de-professionalise teaching, get rid of the unions and drive down costs; while the left are using it as a stick to beat a conservative government, and hoping to use it to drive up salaries, T & Cs etc for teachers. Sadly I think that the right will get their way, as treating teachers properly has never been popular with the electorate at large.
  15. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    In the early 1980s there was no shortage of graduate jobs in the financial (the sector I was working in then) and technology sectors - you may even remember the days of the 'milk rounds' when the major blue chip companies visited universities on graduate trawls. The '80s were the days of 'loadsamoney' and 'yuppies'. It was the recession in the mid to late 1990s that really saw a downturn in graduate jobs and 1997 (according to research I have done by Leeds University) had the lowest teacher vacancy rate on record. Historically it has always been difficult to lure STEM graduates into teaching posts because there are many more lucrative sectors vying to recruit them, but this problem appears to be more acute at the moment which is probably why the DfE are offering physics graduates bursaries of up to £30K to take up teacher training.

    Today we are seeing more widespread vacancies in subjects that were previously overrun with PGCE graduates: geography, design & technology and English, for example.

    Here in the South East many schools are having to re-advertise primary teaching posts or turn to agencies to fill them temporarily. When I qualified to teach in 2008 there were 50 - 100 applicants for every teaching post, even good schools now struggle to get half a dozen applications. We advertised twice for a KS2 teacher last summer - we received two applications. One of the applicants pulled out at interview stage and we ended up recruiting a long term supply teacher to the post.

    As we are seeing here on TES in Workplace Dilemmas and other fora, more and more experienced teachers are choosing to leave because of the deterioration in their pay and conditions or are being levered out of their posts due to trumped up charges of 'incapability', or worse are forced to resign due to mental health conditions directly attributable to work related stress.

    There is a crisis in education (the causes of which are the subject of other debates here and elsewhere) and it has resulted in low uptake of ITT posts coupled with a very high number of experienced teachers leaving the profession well before statutory retirement age.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  16. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    I would like to know what the breakdown of the "number of people leaving teaching" is and what qualifies for inclusion in those figures,

    I am pushed for time, anyone know if that is available... I doubt it though?
  17. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Where was that? Fantasy Island Academy?

    At my school 2 years ago they were already into the realms of 5-6 applications, 2-3 called for interview, 0-2 turn up. This last year it's been a case of contact anyone you know. Difficult to recruit departments are having other promotions attached to try and draw people in.
    snowyhead likes this.
  18. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    It was only very recently that 'the right' (ie our current Conservative-lead government) admitted that there was a teacher recruitment crisis - they were happy to keep denying it until the evidence bit them on the bum.

    Recruitment crisis looms in core subject August 2012

    Teach First warns of worst teacher recruitment crisis since 2002

    Nick Gibb (Schools Minister) No teacher recruitment crisis July 2015
  19. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    I doubt that there are any figures available yet. The DfE do a survey bi-annually (?) and I think the big two unions carry out surveys at about this time of year that focus on teacher retention and pay and conditions. Probably get a better view of figures later in the year, once they have been collated for the summer resignation figures. My LA used to do an exit survey but that seems to have fallen by the wayside.
  20. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Thanks, I wonder if, like the unemployment figures, only a certain % of people are included, but would in any common sense definition of the terms involved, qualify to be counted in the figures.

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