Lack of jobs forcing trainees out, warn teachers

Government urged to employ NQTs 'centrally' from next term, as losing them would be 'a significant cost to the taxpayer'

Amy Gibbons

Teacher training: NQTs are being forced out of the profession by a lack of teacher jobs, warns the NEU teaching union

Many new teachers are "seriously considering other jobs" as they struggle to find work for September, the UK's largest education union has warned.

The government is being urged to centrally employ newly qualified teachers (NQTs) from next term, so that "the needs of schools are met and talent is not wasted" in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The NEU teaching union has warned that many NQTs who completed their training during the school shutdown are "struggling to find work for September".


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Nansi Ellis, NEU assistant general secretary, said: "Government needs to do more for those teachers who completed their training during the period of school closures. Those who have found jobs are likely to need increased support during this next year, as they missed out on supported teaching experience during the summer term.

NQTs 'struggling to find work'

"But our newly qualified teacher members tell us they are struggling to find work for September, and too many are already seriously considering other jobs to pay the bills.

"Losing these teachers will be a significant cost to the taxpayer, which is why the NEU is calling on government to follow the example of Scotland by centrally employing newly qualified teachers from this September, so that the needs of schools are met and talent is not wasted."

She added: "Teachers, headteachers and school staff have worked hard throughout this pandemic, but their morale has been rocked by the government's performance and apparent disregard for their safety. This is a view widely felt.

"A recent Tes poll shows 85 per cent believe the government is not doing enough to support them and they have been made to feel 'vilified' and 'demonised'. 

"If Boris Johnson truly wants to 'build back better', then he must address the concerns of the teaching profession. Pay has remained below inflation, and the recent increase is not only inadequate but likely to be the last for some time. High workload and poor wellbeing continue to drive teachers from the profession.

High teacher workload and poor wellbeing

"Until government addresses the key drivers of workload, including the high-stakes accountability system, which means teachers and pupils are driven to perform in tests rather than deepen their learning, then the numbers of those leaving teaching will continue to outstrip the numbers of those joining."

The union made the comments as new figures from Ucas reveal that teacher training applications have risen 15 per cent year-on-year – from 104,170 as of 15 July 2019, to 120,070 as of 20 July 2020.

Ms Ellis said: "During the pandemic, more and more people have come to appreciate the important work that teachers do, and the huge increase in applications to initial teacher training for September is a welcome reflection of this.

"These increases are desperately needed, because the government does not yet seem to have stemmed the flow of teachers leaving the profession."

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