Rob Campbell, principal of Impington Village College in Cambridgeshire, said that the difficulties schools were reporting in recruiting teachers should act as a “wake-up call” to the government that it needs to pay teachers more.
While he said that the quality of teachers had improved continuously over his 26 years in teaching, he said that it was getting harder to recruit for senior roles, particularly in subjects such as maths, sciences and languages.
“I have never been more proud to be a head, but there needs to be a wake-up call among politicians that they have to invest in the education system,” said Mr Campbell. “If you pay peanuts, then eventually you will end up with primates rather than high-quality teachers.”
He said that applicants for interviews were not of “high-enough quality” in certain subjects, which meant he was often forced to tweak the role – such as by recruiting an assistant principal rather than a head of languages – and raise the salary to attract high-quality candidates.
“If you want quality staffing, you have to pay more for it. Teachers in shortage subjects know they can demand higher salaries. I had heard of an NQT living in Cambridge being offered to have their train season ticket paid for as well as health insurance as part of the package to work for an academy trust in London.”
Mr Campbell added that he had missed his recruitment targets for a number of years, and he, like heads at many other schools, was already looking to recruit for vacancies next September.