Teacher adverts up 14% compared with pre-Covid

There are ‘emerging signs’ of a teacher shortage, with a number of schools reporting that they have not been able to fill vacancies, says recruitment report
20th June 2022, 12:01am


Teacher adverts up 14% compared with pre-Covid


Secondary schools’ advertised vacancies have increased by 14 per cent compared with levels seen before the pandemic, according to a new report. 

And there are “emerging signs of teacher shortage” with 15 per cent of schools advertising for secondary posts saying they had failed to fill the position.

The report comes after data released by the Department for Education last week revealed that the retention rates of newly qualified teachers were beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels.

The latest report, compiled by School Dash in partnership with Teacher Tapp for the Gatsby Foundation, also shows that recruitment activity was up by 14 per cent compared with three years ago. 

The report says that the trends are “far from unique to teaching”, and that many other industries are seeing increased staff turnover and demand for more flexible working arrangements.

Teacher recruitment: posts aren’t being filled 

Data from a Teacher Tapp survey, which attracted 1,735 respondents, shows that among those primary schools that advertised this season, 11 per cent of teachers said that not all of their job posts had been filled - an increase of 4 percentage points from last year.

And 15 per cent of secondary teachers said the same, with a slightly higher percentage point increase of 7. 

Furthermore, the report says that, according to Teacher Tapp, leaders are reporting fewer applicants per post than normal across both phases.

Just one-fifth (20 per cent) of teachers and leaders who responded from the primary sector said they had more applicants than normal, with over half (54 per cent) saying they had less applicants than normal.

The pandemic ‘has affected the view of the profession’

Meanwhile, one-third of teachers (33 per cent) said they felt the pandemic had affected their “view of the profession”.

Almost one in five (18 per cent) of the 6,598 respondents to this question said they were now more likely to leave the profession, and 15 per cent said they were now more likely to seek to reduce their hours. 

Fewer teachers want to be heads 

Moreover, the share of teachers who said they wanted to become a head one day has fallen from 56 per cent pre-pandemic to 48 per cent. 

And the number of assistant and deputy headteachers who said they intended to remain in the profession in three years’ time has fallen from 81 per cent before the pandemic to 75 per cent. 

Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters of teachers (73 per cent) with less than five years’ experience said that they wanted to work fewer hours.

The report says it is important to remember that “there may be many additional hours being counted over and above in-classroom hours”, such as marking, preparing and commuting.

“Many teachers will have seen friends and family cutting down on these as working from home has become more popular,” it adds.

Recruitment difficulties in certain subjects

Secondary schools are also reportedly experiencing “severe difficulties” in recruiting technicians to work in science, technology and other departments.

Advertisement levels for these jobs are now 64 per cent above the pre-pandemic year of 2018-19, with the report saying that the roles are “unlikely to be successfully recruited by September”.

Attachment to the profession

The report also says that the attachment of teachers to the profession overall is weakest in schools judged by Ofsted to be “requires improvement” or “inadequate”.

While the report says the reason behind this is unclear, it is possible that “more satisfied” and “therefore enthusiastic teachers are able to get appointments in ‘outstanding’ schools”.

However, it could also be the case that “experiences within schools with a poor Ofsted judgement that are associated with trying to change practices cause the teachers to feel less committed to their work”.

Or it could be that “lower feelings of job attachment could be one explanation for how a low Ofsted rating can inhibit improvement and contribute to the phenomenon of ‘stuck schools’ ”.

‘Systemic shock’

Commenting on the results of the report today, Dr Timo Hannay, founding managing director of SchoolDash, said: “We’re in an incredibly unusual time and this is an unprecedented situation.” He said the system was “seeing much higher recruiting activity than we’ve ever seen before”. SchoolDash has been tracking these figures since 2017.

Dr Hannay said that schools are “going through a systemic shock” in “the way that learning happens”, the disruption of infections and in staff recruitment. He also said that the pandemic had been a “uniquely disruptive episode” and that “understanding it will be part of the school recovery programme”.

“It’s not just catching up on lost learning, it’s also about catching up on school staffing and making sure that schools are appropriately staffed.”

But Dr Hannay said it could also suggest that we could be “entering a period of higher teacher turnover”.

“We don’t know if it’s the new normal, but this is our first glimpse of what things might look like post pandemic, not just in the immediate aftermath but in the longer term as well.

“Whether that does end up being the picture for the long term, only time will tell.” 

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