Time for Whit's end?;Opinion

24th April 1998 at 01:00
This week there are so many job vacancies that The TES is publishing not one extra appointments section but two - 315 pages compared with our previous record of 207 pages of jobs in a single week. This may underline Alan Smithers and Pamela Robinson's conclusions (page 20) that, as the economy picks up, recruitment and staff retention in schools is becoming ever harder; that the teacher supply crisis is structural, and requires a major overhaul of the profession.

In fact, this week's surge in vacancies may be due to the Easter holidays. It will be a few weeks before we can be sure whether the gloomy recruitment picture in initial teacher training is mirrored by an increase in the flight from the classroom. Though as Robinson and Smithers point out, there are already more trained teachers of working age outside the classroom than in.

But if the staffing scramble is becoming more intense each spring - and the repercussions ever more serious for schools left without key staff when the music stops - perhaps it is time to consider scrapping the Whitsun deadline for resignations and appointments?

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