Big academy chains admit ‘it’s a crisis’

8th January 2016 at 00:00

Scores of academy chains are struggling to recruit enough teachers, TES research shows, with two of the biggest and most high-profile branding the staff shortage as a “crisis”.

Ark, one of the country’s most successful multi-academy trusts (MATs), said that the current staffing difficulties were hitting both academies and maintained schools.

“The teacher recruitment crisis continues to pose a challenge for local authorities and multi-academy trusts across the country, including Ark,” a spokesperson said.

“Talented and dedicated teachers are key to our vision of providing all of our students with the tools needed to secure a university place or a career of their choice.”

Of the more than 100 academy chains – with responsibility for some 800 schools – that responded to a TES poll, 48 described the situation as “difficult” (see below). Four chains said that teacher shortages were a “crisis”.

Among them was E-Act, one of the biggest MATs with 23 academies, including 12 secondaries. “Teacher recruitment is obviously presenting challenges right across the sector – and it’s no different for E-Act,” David Moran, the chain’s chief executive, said. “What this means in practice is that we have to take more time to find the best candidates.”

Griffin Schools Trust, which manages 11 primaries and a secondary across the South East and Midlands, was another that warned of a “crisis”. Karen Weeks, its trust and governance manager, said three of its schools were facing problems, despite strategies to attract staff. “The schools are in Medway in Kent, and they have historically found it difficult to recruit teachers. But it seems to be an issue that has become significantly harder over the last few years,” she said.

Last month the NAHT headteachers’ union published a similar survey, showing that four in five headteachers were struggling to fill vacancies. The union warned the country was in an “ongoing recruitment crisis”.


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