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Core subjects require most supply cover

Teacher supply agencies say the core national curriculum subjects are the most in demand for temporary cover, writes Mark Whitehead.

As these subjects have the biggest departments the numbers of staff off sick at short notice is greater. Agencies also reported serious shortages of special needs teachers and food technologists.

A crisis, however, is apparently still some way off. Newham borough in east London, which, according to Government figures has the highest number of vacancies in the country, says it has no serious recruitment problems.

This is despite abolishing the incentive for newly-qualified teachers this year of paying salaries from the beginning of August. This year the borough recruited 96 newly-qualified teachers. A spokesman said recruitment had been "extremely successful".

Similarly in Sheffield, headteachers reported no serious problems. After conducting a brief survey of 12 secondaries, headteacher John Bardsley said there were "very few problems", though there were some difficulties recruiting chemistry, music and language teachers and special needs staff.

Devon heads said there were problems with maths and foreign languages, while Newcastle reported a problem recruiting English teachers at two schools and said RE staff were difficult to find.

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