Currently there are 365 jobs for teachers of English. 465 Maths teacher vacancies. Similar numbers in other subjects. Out of interest I have been looking at online courses. Over the years I have known pupils/students pass their A levels through taking correspondence courses. Open University is an extended example of this albeit at degree level. Textbooks have vastly improved over the years too so what used to be difficult to understand, now is a lot easier. If not then it will not sell. Simple. A few years ago it was possible to buy DVDs that claimed to enable students to pass A levels. What they lacked, of course, was the feedback on students work. Technology has advanced - and so too has the familiarity of teenagers with iphones, iPads etc etc etc (I expect you can see where I am going with this) One of the courses I looked at this morning charged £50 for an individual to take an A level course. Network licences were available - with discounts if more than one subject was offered. Another company had teamed up with a tutorial agency and the course fee included one hour of tutorial via skype, per week. Let's say, just for the sake of this post, that an A level teacher is paid £25,000 a year. So, take a class of 24 pupils - again not that unusual for A levels in the state sector. Surely it would be so much better - for student and teacher - if the class was split into 2 groups of ten - or even four groups of five? Let's say the pupils were timetabled 5 hours a week for A level....anything, let's say, History. If four groups of five, each group could spend four hours a week going through the online course, submitting homework, comparing against answers, taking tests etc etc etc. Then one hour a week, in small group tuition, the group could go through their homework submitted IN DETAIL and see exactly why they were not getting perfect marks, exactly what exam technique was needed etc etc. That might cost the school £1000 a year in enrolments for the course but look at the quality improvements! Also look at the teaching load for the teacher. 4 hours a week going through homework line by line and 1 extra hour for...marking? analysis? checking online performances? But that is where the school has not shortage of staff. Now let's look at one where there is a teacher shortage. One teacher takes a class of 30 BECAUSE the school cannot afford a second teacher. A second teacher that would cost £25,000. Ok then have a designated study room with an onsite technician in case of IT problems. That person is there all day but different classes use the room so the allocated teaching load per subject varies. The 30 pupils go in there 3 lessons a week. For THREE lessons a week they are split into two groups and have two different teachers = 6 hours. So instead of one teacher teaching 5 hours there are now two teachers teaching a total of 6 hours but to a smaller group AND they now have a total of SIX lessons a week. This costs slightly more than before but NOT the same as having TWO teachers. Obviously there are variations on the above. But surely this dependence on technology is not what education is about? Maybe not five years ago but this generation have grown up with technology and if anything, are more used to it than teachers! Plus the reduction in size of the class means marking is reduced, low level noise, behaviour problems etc etc are all reduced. Surely this is a win-win situation and would solve the teacher shortage? 'Ahhh but there are not the suitable courses available' you may say. Well, I have looked at three competing companies today and surely - as with textbooks - the market is so large that if the course is not suitable then a competitor will spring up. One company even has case studies on site showing how useful their courses are to schools, how it has saved teachers hours and hour and hours of marking. Well, surely if you cannot get the teacher - get the course! Save money, reduce teacher workload, improve outcomes and behaviour - everyone wins! (It also saves thousands of pounds spent in advertisements!) Thoughts?