MPs to probe teacher supply ‘crisis’ during education committee investigation

An investigation into teacher supply has been launched by the House of Commons education committee.

MPs will hold a one-off oral evidence session later this year on the issue to follow-up their recent grilling of education secretary, when the issue of teacher recruitment and retention was explored.

The committee has called for written evidence on whether or not there is a teacher supply “crisis”, including at “senior levels of the profession, at a regional level, and by subject, and how the situation may develop during the 2015 Parliament”.

It also wants evidence on the “root causes of the current situation with regard to the supply of teachers” and what further action the government should take to tackle “teacher shortages.”

It comes after shadow education secretary Lucy Powell raised concerns about government and Ucas data showing that 49,120 teachers left the state-funded sector in the year to November 2014, while 48,900 applied for teacher training in the same period.

It also comes after Schools Week reported that more teachers went abroad to teach than completed a university-based teacher qualification last year.

Committee chair Neil Carmichael (pictured), the Conservative MP for Stroud, said: “The secretary of state has set out her plan for the recruitment and retention of teachers, pointing to teacher numbers at an all-time high.

“But others in the education sector talk of a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention in England, and warn of chronic teacher shortages in some subjects and parts of the country.”

He said the investigation would explore whether England is facing a “teacher supply crisis” or whether it is “merely a challenge, as the Department has described it”.

He added: “For our educational system to achieve the highest standards, we must have an effective teaching workforce. This session will be the first step of my committee’s work in addressing these issues.”

Written evidence for the committee’s consideration can be submitted online here between now and November 20, and Nicky Morgan’s evidence can be read here.

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