‘Struggle’ to recruit teachers


Published: Sunday 3rd May 2015 by The News Editor

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Two thirds of schools are struggling to recruit teachers, particularly in vital subjects like English and maths, according to a survey.

It also reveals that a third of school leaders believe that their newly qualified teachers are not well prepared for the classroom, facing problems like struggling to control lessons and lacking in subject knowledge.

The findings, published by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), come amid growing concerns about a crisis in the recruitment and retention of school staff.

In total, 62.4% of the more than 1,000 NAHT members surveyed said they had faced difficulty recruiting classroom teachers, while a similar proportion, 61.8%, had struggled to find teachers on the upper pay scale – those more senior members of staff.

Two fifths (40.5%) said a shortage of teachers was a key reason they had found it difficult to recruit staff, while 41.4% said the top reason was the quality of applicants.

Headteachers said they struggled most to find specialist maths teachers (40%), followed by English specialists (cited by 32%).

The poll also found that a third of those questioned said they thought the newly qualified teachers (NQT) they had recruited in the last two years were not well prepared to start working in a school.

Of these, almost three quarters (73%) said new teachers were not well prepared in terms of their classroom management skills, while 58% said they lacked subject knowledge, 56% said these NQTs did not have a good understanding of teaching, learning and child development, 53% said they lacked an ability to analyse and use data and 50% said they did not have a good understanding of lesson planning.

Louis Coiffait of NAHT Edge, which supports senior teachers, said: “It’s time to be frank, we’re facing a recruitment crisis at all stages of the education system. Until we address it at each of those stages, there’s no chance that we’ll have the quantity or quality of headteachers we need in the future.”

The latest poll comes just weeks after a teaching union warned that a lmost two-fifths of teachers are not in the classroom a year after finishing their training.

Thousands of recruits never take up a teaching post, according to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), with the numbers almost tripling in the last six years.

ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said those who should be ”bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” at the start of their careers are being turned off by the prospect of heavy workloads, excessive monitoring and poor pay.

According to ATL’s analysis of Government figures, in 2011, around 38% of teachers were not in teaching a year after gaining qualified teaching status (QTS) – either never entering the profession in the first place or leaving after just 12 months.

This is mainly fuelled by high numbers of recruits never entering the classroom. The figures show that 10,800 of those who qualified in 2011 did not go into teaching, compared with 3,600 in 2005.

Ofsted boss Sir Michael Wilshaw has also previously warned that teacher recruitment is a pressing issue, with not enough new staff joining the profession and good entrants not always going to the schools where they are most needed.

:: NAHT’s survey was sent out to members working in England last September and received 1,178 responses.

Academics have previously said that ATL’s figures, published during the union’s annual conference, may exclude those new teachers who do not go into teaching immediately and find a post at a later stage.

Published: Sunday 3rd May 2015 by The News Editor

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