Schools ‘face crisis’ as teachers quit
EDUCATION: Schools across England face a growing sense of crisis because the Government has not dealt with a rise in the number of teachers quitting, MPs have said.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the Department for Education (DfE), had “failed to get a grip” on the retention of teachers.
SCHOOLS ACROSS England face a growing sense of crisis because the Government has not dealt with a rise in the number of teachers quitting, MPs have said.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) criticised the Department for Education (DfE), saying it had “failed to get a grip” on the retention of teachers.
The report said it was particularly worrying that the number of secondary school teachers has been falling since 2010.
Schools only managed to fill about half of vacant posts in 2015/16 with qualified teachers who had the experience and expertise required, according to the report.
The PAC said the Government had got the balance wrong by spending £555m a year training new teachers, and just £36m on retaining and developing teachers.
MPs called on the Government to move to end wide variations in the quality of teaching across the country. The report said that in the Midlands and the North of England more than 20 per cent of pupils were in secondary schools rated as “requires improvement or inadequate for teaching, learning and assessment”.
The report stated: “The quality of teaching and the level of teaching vacancies vary significantly across the country.
“However, the department does not seem to understand the reasons for the variation or the different challenges that schools in different regions face.”
While the overall number of teachers rose by 15,500 between November 2010 and November 2016, secondary school posts dropped by 10,800 in the same period.
MPs expressed concern as DfE forecasts show secondary school pupil numbers will increase by 540,000, almost 20 per cent, between 2017 and 2025.
The number of teachers leaving the profession for non-retirement reasons increased from 22,260, or six per cent, in 2011 to 34,910, 8.1 per cent, in 2016.
The PAC said pressures from workloads was a big factor in teachers leaving the profession, as well as living costs.
The report called on the Government to look at whether adequately funded initiatives could help teachers with housing costs in expensive property areas.
PAC chairwoman Meg Hillier said: “A crisis is brewing in English classrooms but Government action to address it has been sluggish and incoherent.”
A Department for Education spokesman said: “There are now a record number of teachers in our schools – 15,500 more than in 2010 – and last year, despite a competitive labour market with historic low unemployment rates and a growing economy, 32,000 trainee teachers were recruited. Retention rates have been broadly stable for the past 20 years and the teaching profession continues to be an attractive career.”
A crisis is brewing but Government action has been sluggish. Meg Hillier, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee.