What's going on with teaching?

This is the third of 3 articles looking at teaching in our schools.

The number of applicants for teacher training in England fell by 6.5% last year compared with the previous 12 months, according to a new analysis.

The figures, from university admissions body UCAS, look at applications both for higher education and schools-based teacher training schemes.

The teaching union Association of Teachers and Lecturers said the numbers "don't provide reassurance" that the teacher supply crisis is being addressed.

Department for Education figures, published in November, showed targets for the number of new trainee teachers were missed for the third year running. The government's figure of 28,148 recruits represented 94% of the target, according to that set of figures.

In February a separate report from the National Audit Office said teacher shortages in England were growing with recruitment targets missed for four years. Teaching unions and academics continue to warn that the existing recruitment crisis is set to intensify as a population bulge is due to begin hitting secondary schools from this autumn.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said plenty of people still wanted to teach and "many people relish the chance to change lives on a daily basis".

While the overall number of teachers has kept pace with rising pupil numbers, teacher shortages are growing, particularly in poorer areas and at secondary level, according to the authorities in this area. More than half (54%) of head teachers in schools with large proportions of disadvantaged pupils find attracting and keeping good teachers is "a major problem", compared with a third (33%) of those in other schools.

Anonymous head teacher

The teacher shortage is acute, and the government needs to accept this.

I am head teacher of a large, oversubscribed, high attaining primary school and I cannot get staff. I am not getting a single applicant for jobs - not one.

I have several agency staff working in my school, all of whom are very expensive and many of whom only wish to work part time so I have classes with job share teachers.

I am not able to pick and choose my own staff at interview, because there are no interviews, so I am reliant on agencies to supply teachers of a reasonable quality. For my last two jobs they have been unable to do this.

The situation is dire and getting worse. Ultimately it is the children who suffer as we do not have the quality of teachers they deserve.

It is totally infuriating and demoralising to hear the government keep repeating that there is no crisis.

Come and visit my school, and the others in the local area, and see what it's really like.

In secondary schools, more classes are being taught by teachers without a relevant post-A-level qualification in the subject, it added.

Across all secondary subjects, 14 out of 17 had unfilled training places this year, compared with just two subjects five years ago.

If you read this and the other articles in this series don't stay silent please,


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