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Although most teachers in England and Wales work in the maintained sector, independent schools still form a significant part of the school scene, especially for post-16 students. At the last count, in 199899, the Department for Education and Employment recorded about 48,000 full-time and 9,000 part-time teachers working in non-maintained mainstream schools.

As independent schools are not constrained by the government's pay scales, they can respond to the effects of any teacher shortages by raising salaries, providing parents are prepared to pay higher fees. Nevertheless, the word "readvertisment" is creeping into notices for teachers of subjects such as maths and physics even in the independent sector; so maintained schools are not the only ones finding it difficult to fill vacancies.

During te month of March slightly more than 2,000 teaching posts in independent schools in England and Wales appeared in The TES. This represents between 3 and 4 per cent of the teaching posts in the independent sector, assuming all the schools advertising vacancies were included in the DFEE teacher numbers.

If the 1,400 or so vacancies in the independent schools in the secondary sector were all filled by newly qualified teachers, they would account for nearly 10 per cent of new entrants to the profession. These figures are based on only one month's recruitment advertisements, albeit one of the busiest months. Unless demand for teachers by the independent sector declines there is a danger that their need for new teachers will reduce the number of NQTs available to state schools.

John Howson


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