The teacher recruitment crisis by subject

How bad is the teacher recruitment crisis in each subject? Here are the need-to-know numbers

Tes Marketing

A Graph Displaying Shortage Subjects

Unless you’ve been living in a teacher surplus bubble or burying your head firmly in the sand, you won’t have failed to notice that UK schools are in the grips of a major staffing crisis.

Despite a costly marketing campaign from the Department for Education, the government needs to go a long way to redress five years of missing trainee recruitment targets.

Although the general picture doesn’t look good, there are subjects that have been hit harder than others.

Below are the numbers behind the big shortage subjects.

Teacher numbers


the number of teaching vacancies currently unfilled


the number of teaching posts with temporary teachers in position


the number of extra trainee maths teachers needed to hit recruitment targets in 2018


the number of extra trainee design and technology teachers needed to hit recruitment targets in 2018


the total number of teachers qualified in another subject taking a maths subject knowledge enhanced course in 2016-17


the percentage increase of returning physics teachers between 2011-15, the highest of all the subjects


the percentage point increase of leaving physics teachers between 2011-2015, the second highest of all the subjects


the number of extra trainee physics teacher we needed to hit recruitment targets in 2018


the percentage of PE teachers leaving the profession between 2011-15, the lowest of all the subjects


the number of surplus trainee PE teachers recruited in 2018

All data refers to schools in England and is taken from the DfE’s Analysis of teacher supply, retention and mobility and the House of Commons briefing paper Teacher recruitment and retention in England.

If you’re struggling to find the right staff, Tes has a range of recruitment options that can help. Visit our Recruitment Products page for details.

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