London schools face teacher rationing

18th February 2000 at 00:00
IT IS becoming increasingly evident that the situation regarding teacher supply in London is reaching crisis point. From verbal reports, the situation has declined dramatically this term.

Many schools in London are relying on teachers from abroad to cover vacancies. There are now numerous primary classes without a permanent teacher.

Headteachers are faced with stark choices in order to ensure that children receive their entitlement to a teacher. Some are considering a reduction in or the removal of nursery classes to transfer staff into the statutory age groups. Others are class-sharing themselves.

It is painfully evident that the dearth of response from British-trained teachers to London job adverts indictes a disastrous mis-match between the number of recruits and the needs of the schools. Recruitment into teacher-training is dramatically down on last year, which was already down on the previous year.

The Government's determination to drive up standards cannot succeed without an adequate, stable workforce of teachers with appropriate and relevant training.

This aim is likely to fail completely if headteachers are forced back into the position of 10 or so years ago when children had to be sent home on a rotational basis because of teacher shortage.

Janet Pidgeon

President, Greater London Region

National Association of Head


Wellington Avenue, Chingford

London E4

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