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Ministers accused of vacancy complacency

Teacher vacancies have risen by 77 per cent in the past year, according to a survey carried out by the Conservative party.

The survey showed vacancies had risen ten-fold in one education authority and by a factor of seven in another. Of the 17 authorities researched, 11 showed an increase. Total vacancies in the 17 stood at 859 in January compared to 484 the previous year.

Tory education spokesman Damian Green said the figures highlighted Government complacency over the problem of teachers being driven from the profession by excessive workload.

He said: "This research shows how complacent the Government has been in the face of rising teacher vacancies.

"Estelle Morris's attack on teachers last week follows years of interference by ministers, tying teachers up in unnecessary red tape and form-filling. No wonder teachers are fed up and are leaving the profession in alarming numbers.

"The Office for Standards in Education has revealed that 20 per cent of teachers leave within three years of qualifying.

"Our own research, from local authorities run by different parties, shows that the teacher vacancy crisis is still getting worse, and poses a real threat to standards in schools."

The survey covered 35,204 teachers in 1,690 schools. It found that in Hertfordshire the number of teacher vacancies increased by a factor of seven - from 50 to 335 - and in Shropshire they rose ten-fold - from 4 to 40.

A government spokesman said there were more teachers in state schools than at any time since 1984 and vacancies were running at 1.4 per cent nationally.

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