Q: I've had only four days of supply work before half-term. I've had a job interview, but there were 10 other applicants. In my part of the country (Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, and west and central London) only about 10 teaching jobs were advertised before half-term. Why is that?
A: After the shortages of only three years ago, it seems ironic to be reading letters such as yours. Determining teacher supply is not an exact science.
The recent lack of jobs in secondaries has come as something of a surprise, though we knew it was likely to happen in the primary sector; indeed, I have been warning about that problem for the past 18 months. The secondary sector seems to have avoided a financial crisis by cutting posts - at least if trends in pupil-teacher ratios are anything to go by.
Will the jobs situation get any better? Probably not this year, as more trainees than ever hit the job market. But the number of retirements is set to rise sharply in the next few years, and that should help to create new jobs, especially in the regions you mention, where pupil numbers are not falling as fast as they are in the north of England.