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‘Perfect Storm’ Reacher Recruitment Crisis Facing Headteachers, New Report Shows


An increase in the number of teachers leaving the profession, coupled with an insufficient number of trainees, has prompted warnings from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) that UK schools face an impending recruitment crisis.

The report, Recruitment and retention in Slough schools, has been produced by the REC on behalf of the Slough Association of Secondary Headteachers (SASH) and explores existing and future staffing challenges. Analysis of government data found:

  • Almost one in three (30 per cent) teachers who took jobs in 2010 left the profession within five years;
  • The number of teachers leaving the profession before retirement age each year increased by 40 per cent between 2012 and 2015. In 2015, 34,250 teachers left the profession before retirement age;
  • The number of people annually recruited into teaching fell by 14 per cent between 2010/11 and 2014/15.

Analysis of the pool of Newly Qualified Teachers who will be available to take jobs in 2017 shows the shortage of teachers will be particularly acute in Business Studies, Design and Technology, and IT & Computing.

The report details practical steps schools should take to improve teacher recruitment and retention, including:

  • develop a strong offer to candidates by highlighting the lifestyle benefits available in the region, such as affordable housing, local entertainment and sports facilities, and travel links;
  • provide career progression routes for teachers in collaboration with local schools, so that teachers seeking promotion are incentivised to stay in the local area.
  • invest in recruitment capability to ensure best practice and improve workforce forecasting, either by hiring an in-house recruitment expert to work for a network of local schools, or by working in partnership with a specialist agency.

REC chief executive Kevin Green says:

“Schools already struggling to fill vacancies are now facing a perfect storm. An alarming number of qualified teachers are leaving the professional at a time when fewer recruits are being trained. Clearly the government needs to get to grips with the problem but there are steps that schools can take to help themselves, such as managing staff wellbeing, improving workforce planning, and focussing on making themselves more attractive to candidates.”

Jo Rockall, headteacher at Herschel Grammar School and chair of the Slough Association of Secondary Headteachers, says:

“Schools across the UK are working hard to make sure there are enough teachers in their classrooms, but the challenges vary at a regional level. We asked the REC to look at the specific trends and challenges in Slough so that we can develop strategies in collaboration with each other and our local council to attract more talent to the area.”

In addition, the REC has today re-launched Putting Pupils First, it’s guide for schools about how to select and work in partnership with recruitment agencies to help mitigate the teacher shortage.