Bleak picture for inner London

5th September 1997 at 01:00
Three page report on a deepening crisis facing schools - an acute shortage of key personnel and a deterioration in the quality of candidates for vacant posts

Recruitment to primary posts may not be as bad as in the secondary sector across the country as a whole, but in inner London, where concern over the 3Rs is greatest, the situation is bleak. Almost half (45.7 per cent) of inner-London primary heads reported difficulty filling posts, compared with 20.5 per cent nationally.

Outside London, recruitment black spots in the primary sector are East Anglia, the South-east, Yorkshire and Humberside, and, in contrast to the secondary sector, the East Midlands (see table 4).

Primary heads are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the recruitment situation. Exactly half of Greater London heads expect the situation to worsen next year. Schools experiencing problems most often cited posts for senior management, music and reception class teachers as hardest to fill.

Primary heads report a similarly gloomy picture on the number of applicants per post, with roughly two in three positions attracting fewer than 15 applicants. The worst problems are to be found in Greater London, where a third of primary posts receive three applicants or fewer. The position is especially stark in outer London (table 5).

Compared with secondary schools, primary heads across the country were more likely to mention the poor quality of candidates (57.1 per cent) but less likely to cite too few applicants (64.2 per cent) as reasons for recruitment difficulties.

Poor quality is mentioned more frequently than lack of candidates in Greater London (especially outer London).

Nationally, vacancies in the primary sector (22.2 per cent) are much lower than in secondary schools (36.7 per cent). But once again, the plight of inner London is apparent, with almost two-thirds of primaries reporting vacancies. Outer London and East Anglia are other black spots (table 6). Many primary heads expected the situation to deteriorate further next year.

Proportionally fewer vacancies have arisen through early retirement and ill health (28.8 per cent) than in the secondary sector (41.8 per cent). One in eight (12.7 per cent) arises because of maternity.

A similar picture of deteriorating finances is evident in primary as in secondary schools, with more than half (53.8 per cent) reporting a cut in this year's budget and two-thirds (67.3 per cent) expecting to have to make further cuts next year.

The picture for next year appears to be especially bleak in Wales, where 82.8 per cent of heads expect cutbacks, and in the South-east (77.2 per cent).


% of difficult-to-fill posts

By region

East Anglia 36.4

East Midlands 24.2

Greater London 28.2

North 9.1

North-west 20.7

South-east 26.0

South-west 14.0

West Midlands 1.9

Wales 4.8

Yorkshire Humberside 25.0

By LEA type

Inner London 45.7

Outer London 15.2

Shire counties 20.9

Metropolitan boroughs 13.5

Cities 11.6


Applicants per post advertised received by % of schools in region

3 or fewer 4-9 10-14 15-plus

East Anglia 18.2 45.5 4.5 31.8

East Midlands 9.1 33.3 15.2 42.4

Greater London 34.2 13.9 34.2 17.7

North 9.5 28.6 23.8 38.1

North West 13.8 32.8 25.9 27.6

South East 15.7 31.4 25.5 27.5

South West 0.0 16.3 16.3 67.4

West Midlands 15.1 11.3 30.2 43.4

Wales 15.0 40.0 5.0 40.0

Yorkshire Humberside 23.7 23.7 13.2 39.5

By LEA type

3 or fewer 4-9 10-14 15

Inner London 18.4 21.2 22.4 18.2

Outer London 39.1 8.7 34.8 17.4

Shire counties 13.8 28.3 19.2 38.7

Metropolitan boroughs 6.0 34.0 28.0 32.0

Cities 20.9 16.3 23.3 39.5


% of schools with vacancies

By region

East Anglia 33.3

East Midlands 14.3

Greater London 51.3

North 15.4

North-west 23.5

South-east 21.0

South-west 9.8

West Midlands 22.0

Wales 15.2

Yorkshire Humberside 20.0

By LEA type

Inner London 63.2

Outer London 40.0

Shire counties 18.3

Metropolitan boroughs 23.9

Cities 19.4

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