The shortage of teachers in the UK has been growing recently, an issue that has been well known within the industry. Head teachers are concerned however that the government is not seeing the urgency of the crisis.
According to the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), 59 per cent of schools advertising for teachers struggled to get applicants, and a further 20 per cent failed to appoint anyone at all.
Russell Hobby, leader of the NAHT, said it was clear evidence of a "crisis". But the Department for Education said the number of teachers now stood "at an all-time high". While this is the case, the impending surge of pupils due to hit schools within the next five years will be too much with current teacher numbers.
Mr Hobby told MPs that one of the biggest problems was the perception gap between schools and the government on the scale of the shortage. The schools minister Nick Gibb told the committee that using language such as "crisis" over teacher shortages ran the risk of "talking down the profession". Mr Gibb said rising numbers were entering teaching and the quality of the graduate intake was improving and this was not a profession with a "morale problem".
While this is the case, Mr Hobby warned that national data could mask the reality on the ground, where schools were having to rely on temporary arrangements to cover for gaps.
The general consensus in the industry is that record numbers are entering the profession, at a very high quality, but there are worries over the growing student population and how this will be tackled.
Posted by Alan Douglas