To hear of teacher shortages is not rare, however statistics published recently by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) suggest that the situation could be worse than ever before.
Each year the government establishes targets for how many trainee staff should be recruited into each subject area for the start of the new academic year. The figures released for 2015 highlight the dramatic shortfall in many subject areas, the third consecutive year that the numbers have failed to hit the target.
Design and technology is the subject that has been hit the hardest, recruiting only 550 trainee teachers so far; a shortfall of 729 against the target of 1,279. This was followed by maths, where the target was 2,582 but only 2,300 trainee teachers were recruited. As a core subject, the 282 vacant positions could have a dramatic effect.
Subjects which are not struggling to recruit are languages and physical education, where there remains a large pool of applicants.
Speaking to The Observer, Dr Robin Bevan, headteacher of Southend High School for Boys, said: “The subjects that have changed more recently are geography and English.” The statistics showed a shortfall of 253 trainee teachers for English, and 198 for geography.
According to Dr Robin Bevan: “You either end up with larger classes in A-level and GCSE or you have to bring into the timetable non-experts who do not know the subject matter, which means the head of the department is preparing resources.”
The school population is growing fast and an additional 500,000 pupils are due to enter the schools system over the next five years, increasing the requirement for teachers.
Posted by Tim Colman