ATL teacher survey reveals support staff often cover vacancies

To coincide with the opening of its annual conference today, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers has published the findings of a survey of more than 800 members. Here are some of the most interesting results.

Teachers are unsure about their future in the profession.



Workload and a work/life balance are the top reasons teachers think others might not want to join the profession.



Supply teachers are the main response by schools to teacher vacancies, but support and other staff are being used for cover, too.



Teacher vacancies are increasing workload and forcing staff to divert from their existing duties.



ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said the government had missed its teacher trainee recruitment targets for the last four years and warned that “record numbers are leaving the profession”.

Dr Bousted said: “The government must take heed of what teachers say is fuelling the crisis and admit that tackling the shortage is about making the profession a more attractive one to join, and stay in.

“So far the government’s response has been inadequate, relying on expensive gimmicks like ‘Troops to Teachers’ that cost £10 million and resulted in just 41 veteran recruits. They haven’t created a coherent teacher education programme, for initial teacher training or continued professional development.”

She said the situation was “becoming a vicious circle”, adding: “The abysmal work/life balance puts people off and then teacher shortages contribute to an unmanageable workload, making more teachers want to leave.

“There has to be a serious attempt to reduce teacher workload and to treat teachers as professionals, with the respect and salaries they deserve. The government has to accept we are facing a crisis and put credible measures in place that will produce systemic change.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said the government would “always listen to the concerns of the sector” and said education secretary Nicky Morgan’s recent acceptance of recommendations from three workload groups would help schools cut the amount of data teachers are required to collect and end the “duplication of tasks”.

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