Report reveals four in five school leaders face recruitment ‘problem’ as committee begins teacher supply inquiry

Almost four in five school leaders have reported a problem with recruitment, a survey by the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) has found.

The survey of 2,135 school leaders has also revealed some schools are spending up to £10,000 per vacancy on agency fees to plug shortages.

The release of the report comes as the House of Commons education select committee prepares to grill schools minister Nick Gibb, NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby and others on problems with teacher supply this morning.

In total, 79 per cent of respondents to NAHT’s second annual recruitment survey who had advertised vacancies reported recruitment problems, with 52 per cent reporting a shortage of applicants as the main reason.

More than a third of leaders (33 per cent) also said they had a problem with teachers leaving the profession, up from 15 per cent last year.

The survey also found almost half of schools used recruitment agencies, with fees averaging £3,000 per vacancy but sometimes running up to £10,000.

Mr Hobby said the research showed schools were “struggling to recruit people with the right kind of skills”.

He added: “There needs to be more investment in the professional development of teachers, both at a school and at a national and regional level.

“NAHT supports the work of the Department for Education-appointed expert group developing a standard for professional development as a first step to support schools to be more effective in arranging CPD.”

He also warned there was a “market failure in the development of senior leaders, especially head teachers”, as schools that benefit from their professional development are often not the schools that paid for it. He added: “This makes a strong case for some centralised funding of leadership development programmes.”

“The recruitment crisis has created a growing role for teacher recruitment and supply agencies, adding cost and complexity to teacher recruitment for schools.

“NAHT will be working with agencies and schools to address the issues involved. The government should reconsider their recent decision to reduce the investment in primary sector initial teacher training and review their assumptions about the numbers of new primary teachers needed.”

A DfE spokesperson said the number of teachers in classrooms was at an “all-time high” and that England had “1,000 more graduates training in secondary subjects” and “record levels of trainees holding a first class degree”.

He added: “The vast majority of teachers stay in their roles for more than five years and more than half of those who qualified in 1996 were still in the profession 18 years later.

“The latest figures also show the number of former teachers coming back to the classroom has continued to rise year after year. As a result there are now 13,100 more full-time equivalent teachers than in 2010.”

The education committee hearing will start at 9.30am in Parliament. You can follow Schools Week’s live coverage here.

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