Labor says government has created ‘perfect storm’ in England’s teaching workforce | lack of teachers

Labor has accused the government of creating “a perfect storm” in England’s teaching workforce after an analysis revealed the scale of the crisis, with teachers old and new dropping out of the classroom and few replacing them.

A teacher who graduated in 2010 is 15% more likely to leave teaching within a decade than one who graduated in 2000, according to Labour’s analysis of the most recent official figures available.

There is also a worrying gap between the number of teachers who leave the profession and those who enter it, says Labor. Their research found that 36,262 left the teaching profession in 2020/21, compared to 34,394 who entered through initial teacher training, leaving a shortfall of 1,868.

The government’s own teacher training statistics, published in December, revealed a drop of a fifth in recruitment, which was described as “catastrophic”. A new Labor analysis, however, found that recruitment outside London was down by almost a third compared to 2019/20.

Labor says the recruitment crisis threatens to jeopardize the quality of pupils’ education and damage the life chances of children, particularly in the north of England and the Midlands.

It is also at the center of negotiations between the government and unions, who say the erosion of teachers’ salaries has made the job less attractive. Barring a last-minute breakthrough in negotiations, the National Education Union is due to hold its second day of strike next Tuesday in the North, Yorkshire and Humber regions in pursuit of its fully funded above-inflation pay claim.

Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson said: “The Conservatives have created the perfect storm in our teaching workforce, with old and new teachers leaving and very few replacing them.

“Our children will reap the maelstrom of lower scholastic standards and worse life chances for years to come, unless Conservatives address the dangerous exodus of teachers that began under their watch.”

She continued: “Labour will recruit an additional 6,500 teachers to fill vacancies and reduce the workload of our overworked, overworked and underappreciated teaching workforce and raise standards of education.”

Further analysis by the Liberal Democrats showed that the government has missed its recruiting targets every year for the last five years in math, physics and modern languages. The total deficit over the five years is 3,112 mathematics teachers, 6,367 physics teachers, and 3,519 modern languages ​​teachers.

Liberal Democrats are also concerned that many high school students are not being taught by specialists due to recruitment and retention issues. In physics, for example, where the shortage of specialist teachers is most critical, 40.6% of teachers do not hold a relevant post-A-level qualification, up from 37.3% five years ago.

The Liberal Democrat analysis also reveals the scale of burnout among young teachers. In the last five years, 102,588 teachers stopped teaching before reaching the age of 40.

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Munira Wilson, education spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, said: “The Conservatives are failing our children badly. They are missing their own recruitment targets and driving thousands of young teachers out of the profession, leaving millions of children to be taught by someone who is not an expert in their subject.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said: “The number of teachers in the system remains high and there are now more than 465,000 teachers working in state-funded schools across the country, 24,000 more than in 2010.

“Our £27,000 and £29,000 tax-free scholarships are helping to encourage talented trainees in key subjects such as maths, physics, chemistry and computing. In addition, these teachers can receive a £3,000 tax-free placement award in years 1-5 of their careers.

“In addition to awarding the highest salary premium in 30 years – 5% for experienced teachers and more for those at the beginning of their careers, including an increase of up to 8.9% in starting salary – we are having ongoing conversations with unions about issues related to recruitment and retention.”

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