Skip to main content

12 September 2023 - Teacher recruitment, training and retention - Oral evidence

Committee Education Committee
Inquiry Teacher recruitment, training and retention

Tuesday 12 September 2023

Start times: 9:30am (private) 10:00am (public)

Add to calendar

How to fix specialist teachers shortage – Education Committee questions experts

The Education Committee questions experts on how to address the shortage of specialist teachers in subjects including maths, sciences, languages, religious education and DT.

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) publishes an annual report on the teacher labour market. For 2022/23 it found there had been “historically low recruitment” in both primary and secondary schools. 

Meeting details

At 10:00am: Oral evidence
Inquiry Teacher recruitment, training and retention
Chair of Board of Trustees at Association for Language Learning
Immediate Past Chair at Joint Mathematical Council of the UK
Research Officer at National Association of Teachers of Religious Education
Director of Education at Design and Technology Association
Head of Learning and Skills at Institute of Physics

Department for Education data shows that shortages of teachers are felt unevenly between subjects. While for history, drama and physical education the targets for recruitment on to initial teacher training (ITT) was exceeded in 2022/23, in other subjects the figures were well short. Only 17% of the target was met for recruiting physics teacher onto ITT, alongside 25% for design and technology, 30% for computing, 34% for modern foreign languages, 64% for music, 76% for religious education and 90% for maths.

These shortages increase the likelihood of subjects having to be taught by non-specialist teachers and there are concerns this can impact the quality of pupils’ education in those subjects, and lead to schools facing challenges in offering certain subjects.

In this session, the cross-party Committee questions experts from subject-specific associations on what can be done to tackle the shortage in specialist teachers.

Among the options MPs want to query are the effectiveness of offering higher pay in order to compete with other career paths; offering bursaries for ITT in a broader range of subjects; or offering financial support with other living costs such as transport and accommodation.

There will also be questions on why it is harder to recruit teachers for some subjects more than others; rates of attrition from the workforce in different subjects; regional variations; and around the support offered to teachers who are required to fill gaps by teaching outside of their own specialism. 


Room 15, Palace of Westminster

How to attend