Teachers’ leaders fear a classroom crisis as fewer people are entering the profession.
According to some statistics the number of would-be teachers has fallen and more qualified teachers are quitting the profession early.
Data released by UCAS showed teacher recruitment numbers have dropped by one third in just 12 months, with the number of women applying to train also falling by one third.
The National Education Union puts the decline down to a number of factors from pay to workload but the union’s joint general secretary Kevin Courtney also says something needs to be done about the training system.
He says: “The confusion surrounding routes into teaching and the lack of any national system of pay progression also need addressing.”
In his call for a pay rise Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers said: “ The recruitment crisis continues unabated and the teacher supply pipeline is leaking at both ends. At present the government is failing to recruit enough new teachers, and doing nowhere near enough while too many experienced teachers leave prematurely.”
The Department for Education says the Government is spending more than £1.3bn over this parliament to help attract people into the profession. This includes tax-free bursaries and scholarships for key subject areas and an overseas recruitment drive.
And, it says there are now a record number of teachers in our schools – 15,500 more than in 2010. There are now several routes into teaching apart from the traditional undergraduate and year long university post graduate university routes, including on the job training schemes for graduates and career changers.
Roger Pope, (inset) chairman of the National College for Teaching Leadership, the executive agency of the DfE providing a programme of support for aspiring teachers, says: “Good teachers are in demand and the career provides excellent employment prospects with the opportunity to progress quickly. Alongside the generous bursaries and scholarships on offer, we provide a comprehensive programme of support to help people become teachers.”
The Train to Teach roadshow, run by the National College, is holding a recruitment drive and information event in Lancashire next week with an event at the Hilton Blackpool, on Tuesday, February 27 from 4.30pm to 8pm. Workshops also take place throughout the year.
Teacher recruitment and retention will be the focus of a Westminster Education Forum seminar in April.