3 ways Tes Timetable can help with staffing shortages

As schools continue to struggle to fill vacancies, we look at how the right timetabling approach can make a major difference

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3 ways Tes Timetable can help with staffing shortages image

Staffing struggles in schools aren’t going anywhere soon. A recent Tes article reported we’re currently experiencing the highest recorded number of secondary teacher vacancies in five years, with a 12 per cent increase since the last comparable year (2020).

And this shortage is hitting a variety of subjects. Analysis from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) says teacher recruitment targets are likely to be missed in English, which usually meets its target, along with maths and science, and it also predicts “recruitment challenges” in subjects that have traditionally been successful in attracting applicants - such as geography, biology, art and religious education. 

Schools are, understandably, often turning to supply staff to plug these gaps, but it’s an expensive and short-term solution, if staff can even be found. Here are 3 ways schools can use Tes Timetable's Daily module to meet their staffing needs in tough times. 


Schools often try to find more staff because it’s simply too difficult to create a workable timetable solution - they attempt to hire more people rather than looking at the possibility of internal restructure. But massive savings can be made if you have the technology to suggest alternatives very quickly.

Tes Timetable enables you to specify a group of teachers as staffing options at subject and year level, as well as specifying preferred teachers at individual class level. This allows the auto-staffing algorithm to fill all classes based on the options, preferences, allotments, availability and curriculum structure, and to automatically fix teacher clashes during timetable construction.

Reduced split classes

Splitting classes is a way to solve timetable clashes, but it can bring additional costs in other areas and so should ideally be avoided as much as possible. It’s not uncommon for Tes Timetable to achieve reductions in split classes of 30 per cent, and sometimes as high as 50 per cent.

This has a direct effect on educational outcomes, staff workload and wellbeing. It improves student behaviour by reducing the disruption of having additional teachers, and it helps improve the quality of those relationships.

Optimising cover options

The shortages mean that some schools are having difficulty sourcing casual teachers and therefore must merge classes or provide only minimal supervision. Our Tes Timetable Daily module provides clever cover options quickly for when there are no teachers available, such as combining smaller classes in one room or shared space.

The software communicates changes on teacher and room timetables, while providing comprehensive tools for analysis of all covers, absences, cancelled classes and room changes, as well as statistics on casual teacher engagement and cost savings due to merged classes.

If you'd like a free demonstration of Daily, just submit your details and we'll be in touch shortly.

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