Shortage? What shortage?...

26th January 2001 at 00:00
Roger Butterfield's tale (far right) is a cautionary one for those trying to recruit and hang on to teachers. We examine their tactics and the state of the staffing crisis

Five times as many applicants as places, applications up 15 per cent on the previous year...The kind of recruitment figures that English education ministers dream of are commonplace across the water in Northern Ireland.

Far from struggling to fill teacher vacancies, the province has a glut of young teachers unable to find a permanent post.

The latest research shows that just over half the new teachers qualifying in summer 1995 started in temporary jobs, and that three years later more than one in five was still not permanently employed.

Tom McKee, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers' assistant general secrtary for the province, said some teachers had moved to other parts of the UK, but most wanted to stay near to home or to where they trained.

The recruitment crisis has passed by some parts of England and Wales, too. Far to the north of crisis-hit London and the south-east, Northumberland has had no vacancies since last January, say official figures.

But there are concerns that the three-year 21.5 per cent pay deal in Scotland may draw teachers away from the county.

Northumberland's education director Lindsey Davies said: "People like it here. There's a very good quality of life, and strong community support across the county.

"Our schools are doing an excellent job and they are lively and interesting places to work. So when people get here, they find it attractive and a fair proportion stay."

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