Shortage of teachers in Yorkshire at crisis point, say unions

Schools right across Yorkshire are facing a growing teacher recruitment crisis with more than half of headteachers surveyed reporting vacancies in English, maths and science.

The Association of School and College Leaders, which did the research, said the situation will worsen due to falling numbers of graduates and more secondary-age children.

ASCL general secretary Brian Lightman said: “The existing teacher supply model does not work. Schools all over the country are experiencing unprecedented difficulties recruiting trainees, qualified teachers, middle and senior leaders.

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“The next government must act urgently to ensure that effective processes are put in place to model numbers of teachers needed in each sector and region and then promote the status and value of teaching as a profession.”

The ASCL union called for an expansion in the number of groups of schools which provide initial teacher training. It wants a profession-led campaign to attract people into teaching.

Mr Lightman said: “Teaching must be promoted as a high-status profession and a proposed Royal College of Teaching, to set standards and encourage professional learning, would help to do this.”

Headteachers said the crisis was affecting urban and rural schools - including high-achieving schools.

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A North Yorkshire head said: “Across the schools in our region recruitment is becoming a significant factor in preventing school improvement.

“Maths, physics and now good-quality English candidates, are in very short supply and schools in challenging circumstances are facing the future with little hope of recruiting credible candidates. Recruitment to leadership positions is harder still with heads of maths positions being regularly re-advertised.”

Yorkshire-based Ian Murch, an NUT official, said schools were worried as many teachers prepared to retire. He says a drop in trainees joining the union signals a big shortfall in teachers.

“I speak to a lot of heads who are finding it hard to recruit in English, Maths and, to some extent, science. It is a true crisis in some schools.”

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The problem extended to recruiting heads, with some job adverts in Bradford attracting only one candidate - and in some cases none. He called for improved starting pay.

Bradford councillor Ralph Berry said the council was working with a recruitment and retention specialist and bringing in “executive heads” to oversee more than one school.

A South Yorkshire teacher said: “The amount of administration work means that the fun has gone out of teaching. There are fewer applicants for senior roles because those positions are now so far removed from traditional teaching.”