Schoolzone blog: The impact of teacher shortages

The impact of teacher shortages


1 Sept 2015

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According to this week's Observer, reporting UCAS teacher training applications, there are too few trainee teachers being recruited. They report, courtesy of TeachVac, shortfalls against targets in D&T, maths, RE, music, geography, art and English. But this is worse than even the Observer's grim picture suggests: we need to be recruiting more teachers to cope with increasing numbers, but are recruiting fewer than last year in several subjects. A comparison of August applications via UCAS data show the following reductions in applications to teach compared to August 2014:

  1. 29% in ICT
  2. 26% in citizenship and in art
  3. 19% in business
  4. 13% in RE, history and economics
  5. 10% in music, geography and drama

History and music have not hitherto been highlighted as subjects where there is a concern over recruitment, but these declines, if they persist year on year will certainly soon join the red alert list of physics, English, IT/computer science, RE, geography and social sciences.

On a more positive note, languages and science applications have more than doubled since this time last year.

So schools will be relatively well supported, in terms of recruitment, in reaching EBacc targets, but not so well in meeting the new P8 measures, unless they do some serious thinking about options next year.

Overall if you take out science and language applications, numbers are around 3,000 down in the last year. Meanwhile, pupil numbers are rising at around 100,000 per year. it doesn't take much imagination to see that these numbers don't make much sense now and that, when the recession lifts, if teacher pay doesn't increase to keep up with that in other professions, the situation will get even worse.

Meanwhile, if you're about to train to be a science or language teacher, you'd better expect to be teaching one of the subjects in the list above in the next year or two.



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