The teaching jobs market in Wales
As increasing numbers of schools in Wales have closed, amalgamated or federated over recent years, the number of teaching jobs has declined. Statistics show the number of teachers registering with the GTCW has been falling steadily since 2008.
In 2011 the GTCW reported that only four in ten newly qualified teachers were managing to secure permanent jobs in primary or secondary schools after completing their initial training. It said more than ever were having to rely on supply teaching to earn a living.
Nevertheless there are jobs out there. Recent Welsh government figures showed a slight rise in the number of advertised teacher vacancies in the secondary sector in January this year compared to the previous year, although there were fewer vacancies in primary schools.
Are there any subject shortages?
Last December the Welsh government announced incentive grants for a number of postgraduate ITT courses that give a clue as to which subjects are in demand in the secondary sector.
The six priority subjects for 2013/14 were mathematics, physics, chemistry, modern foreign languages, ICT and Welsh.
The government also wants to attract the most talented graduates into teaching, so if you have a first or upper-second class degree in any of those subjects, you have a better chance of gaining employment.
If you can teach through the medium of Welsh you also stand a better chance of finding a job, and particularly if you are willing to teach second language Welsh in English-medium schools. Schools in some areas of South Wales where the language is not widely spoken often struggle to recruit Welsh-speaking teachers.
What about supply teaching?
Many teachers in Wales find it difficult to find permanent employment and instead turn to supply teaching. There are currently around 5,000 supply teachers in Wales and around 40 agencies.
But the situation varies between local authorities. Some have preferred supply agencies and insist on using them to fill any vacancies.
Teaching unions have raised concerns in recent years that some agencies are “exploiting” teachers by paying them less than those employed directly by schools.
Estyn and the Wales Audit Office is currently working on a review of supply teaching, which should be published this summer.
Read more on teaching in Wales
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Check out our ‘compare-and-contrast’ guide to Wales’ education system.
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