How to tackle national teacher shortage – Education Committee to question course providers
The Government’s efforts to boost teacher recruitment will be dissected by CEOs of teacher training course providers, as well as Teach First and the National Institute of Teaching.
2022 saw the highest number of teacher vacancies since 2010. There were 1,600 vacancies in November 2021 compared with 2,300 in November 2022. Only 59% of the target for recruiting trainees for Initial Teacher Training was achieved in 2022/23, down from 79% in 2021/22.
There are particular shortages of specialist science and maths teachers, leading some to question the Government’s proposal of making maths a compulsory subject up to age 18.
The witnesses (listed below) will be asked to comment on the Government’s 2019teacher recruitment and retention strategy. This included the Early Career Framework, a scheme that offers new teachers two years of structured training and support with access to mentors and funded time off their timetables, as well as a simpler “one stop” job application system. It also included financial incentives and outlined plans for new national professional qualifications (NPQs). MPs will be interested to hear how successful these measures have been and whether further improvements to workforce numbers are likely to follow.
The cross-party Committee will ask the witnesses about their own experiences of recruiting students into initial teacher training courses, and challenges they may have faced with recruitment for particular subjects.
There may also be questions about recruitment challenges in the further education sector, which has faced deeper funding cuts than the primary and secondary sector. Median pay for a college teacher is now £34,500, compared with £41,500 for those in schools.
MPs are likely to question whether the Department for Education, which now receives teacher training course applications instead of UCAS, could do more to promote the different routes into teaching and make it clearer for applicants. One route the Committee may want to quiz witnesses on is the recently introduced postgraduate teaching apprenticeship.
There may also be questions about whether newly qualified teachers are given sufficient training to support pupils with special educational needs and disabilities or those from diverse backgrounds, as well as about concerns that too few teachers are from diverse backgrounds.
Read more about the Committee’s teacher recruitment, training and retention inquiry and its terms of reference here.