There has been considerable discussion, in this column and elsewhere, about the number of vacancies for teachers during the past year. A few weeks ago (TES Jobs, October 6), I cited evidence from the Employers' Organisation that the number of teachers changing jobs had risen between 1998 and 1999. There is now further evidence from the Department for Education and Employment to support this view.
In evidence to the Pay Review Body, the DFEE quotes a turnover rate for England and Wales of 15.7 per cent during 1997-8. The percentage is, as yet, provisional but indicates a 12 per cent rise compared to the 14 per cent turnover in 1995-6 that the department reported in evidence to the School Teachers Review Body two years ago.
Turnover is defined as all teachers in full-time service in the mantained nursery, primary and secondary schools sectors on March 31, 1997 who were not in full-time service in the same establishment on March 31, 1998. Some of these teachers move schools because of mergers and amalgamations and these have not been excluded from the totals. As a result, the overall percentages may be slightly inflated.
One result of increased turnover, for whatever reason, is that the number of vacancies reported inevitably rises. A preliminary count of vacancies in the main secondary subjects advertised in The TES during September adds up to more than 2,300 advertisements. Of these, nearly 600 were for maths teachers in maintained schools and just over 500 were for teachers of English.
Over the coming months, this column will keep track of the ads in The TES.