1st March 2016

Vacancies are having a detrimental impact on the education provided in schools, according to a recent survey.

Eighty four per cent of respondents said teacher shortages are having an impact on the education they are able to provide, in a survey by the Association of School and College Leaders.

Nearly three quarters of those who took part ask teachers to take subjects in which they are not specialists. Other action includes merging classes, which was reported by a quarter of respondents.

Nearly nine in 10 respondents said they are experiencing difficulties in recruiting teachers, and nearly three quarters said the situation was worse or much worse than it was 12 months ago.

The subjects in which most respondents experienced recruitment difficulties were maths, science and English. Many also had problems with finding staff to teach languages, geography and history – all of which are English Baccalaureate subjects which the Government wants 90 per cent of children to be taking at GCSE from 2020 onwards.

Most said the recruitment situation was creating additional workload and stress among staff.

The survey was answered by nearly 900 school and college leaders, the majority of whom represent secondary schools, both academy and maintained.

The Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, also raised concerns about the number of British trained teachers who leave the UK to teach abroad.

Sir Michael asked whether a range of measures could be considered. These included improved data on teacher supply; the use of incentives for teachers teaching in the most disadvantaged schools and possible contractual agreements for trainees.

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