School Direct failing to tackle teacher shortages, report warns

26th September 2014 at 00:59

Schools are facing the most severe teacher shortage in a decade after a new training route has failed to meet demand, according to new research.

Analysis commissioned by TES shows that the number of vacancies going unfilled is increasing and that while some subjects are meeting recruitment targets, others were falling far short.

The study, carried out by teacher workforce expert Professor John Howson and reported in full in today’s TES magazine, suggests that School Direct has been unable to tackle the recruitment shortfall.

School Direct was introduced by the coalition government to give schools responsibility for recruiting their own teachers, but Professor Howson said it had been unable to address shortages in key subjects.

He warned that failure to meet recruitment targets would lead to “a teacher supply crisis of a magnitude not seen since the early 2000s”.

Physics, design and technology, computing, music, RE and biology were particularly at risk, added Professor Howson, an honorary research fellow at the University of Oxford. Recruitment difficulties also have a geographical element, with schools in the East and South East of England more likely to have to re-advertise vacancies.

The Department for Education said there were a record number of people teaching in England’s classrooms and that additional bursaries and scholarships had helped to attract some of the brightest graduates into the profession.

The DfE yesterday announced a significant increase in the value of bursaries for trainees, with awards of £25,000 available to graduates with good degrees in physics, maths, computing, chemistry and languages.

For more on this story, read this week's TES on your tablet or phone by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up in all good newsagents.

Related stories:

School Direct reforms caused 'instability and turbulence', admits teacher training chief - 1 April 2014

Fears of a teacher recruitment shortage as one third of School Direct places left unfilled - 11 September 2013

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