Blunkett refuses to speak of a crisis
Supply agencies admitted they are unable to fill at least 20,000 temporary vacancies a week, and headteachers have warned of increasing numbers of exclusions as behaviour deteriorated among upils.
David Blunkett admitted that the situation was serious but added: "The word crisis is the kind of word you use when you have foot-and-mouth disease destroying an industry. It is not a word you use when you want to resolve a problem by recruiting or bringing back more professionals."
A junior school in Mr Blunkett's Sheffield constituency has sent pupils home for lack of staff, sparking a frantic search by his departmental officials for supply staff.