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Nearly half of English heads believe teacher shortages affect their schools

08/12/2016 Joanna

A new report has indicated that nearly half of headteachers in England believe their schools are affected by teacher shortages at the moment.

Data from the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has shown that 45 per cent of heads in England say they are either affected by a shortage of teachers at least to some extent or a lot.

This is higher than the OECD average of 30 per cent and indicates that further efforts will be needed by the government to help provide schools across the country with greater access to qualified staff to fill some of the gaps that currently exist.

Responding to the PISA findings, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said concerted action to improve teacher recruitment and retention - particularly in areas such as science, maths, English and other key subjects - is essential for the government to achieve its goal of driving up educational standards.

A previous survey from ASCL showed that more than half of respondents believed current teacher shortages may be having an impact on the performance of pupils taking their GCSEs, suggesting this is an issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Leora Cruddas, director of policy at the ASCL, said: "To take our education system to the next level, the government must focus on what matters most - our teachers.

"We need to recruit more teachers and then do more to retain them. They must be paid properly and they need to be supported with world-class professional learning programmes."

The PISA report also offered evidence that many of the UK's students are currently performing well in various subjects, particularly science, where performance levels are significantly above the international average. However, teaching shortages need to be addressed to ensure these trends are maintained.

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