Is there a looming teacher shortage for September 2015?

I’ve enjoyed reading John Howson’s blog. His analytical take around the number of teachers that we, as a country, need is incisive and informative.

The release of the ITT census a week or so ago was given the ‘Howson treatment’ in this post. I’d strongly encourage anyone with an interest in teacher education to read it. If you are a parent concerned about your child’s education perhaps you should read it too. We are heading for a major shortage of qualified teachers in many subject areas. We are at least 1,300 secondary school teachers short across the country. There is also a 7% shortfall in primary school teachers this year.

As someone with an interest in music education, one key fact stood out for me from the post. Across the country only 81% of planned training places were filled. Regular reads of this blog will remember that the MMU Music courses for a September 2014 start were filled well in advance; in July we received a panic email from the DfE asking us to fill an additional 7 places. We were able to do this. Through discussions with other colleagues across the country I’ve found out that many universities received a similar request. Many of them were not willing to reopen courses.

This chaotic, piecemeal approach to the training of our teachers is pretty shoddy. It is certainly not helped by this government’s preoccupation with Schools Direct. Howson’s analysis shows us that Schools Direct only manages to recruit 61% of total places. SCITTS only managed 79%. HEI led courses recruited 90% of their allocation. I am constantly amazed that the DfE seems determined to pursue a policy of school-based training provision like this when the evidence shows clearly that it is poorer quality, patchy in terms of its provision, and pedagogical and intellectually weaker in many aspects compared with HEI-led programmes.




2 thoughts on “Is there a looming teacher shortage for September 2015?

  1. Joseph Dunn

    Hi Jonathan.I would like to say that I left the UK in 1993 for Canada after having taught in different parts of England for almost 18 years.I was a school principal for 8 of those tears but I saw the writing on the wall even then.I have to say that when I came to Canada,I started back at the beginning and I have loved every minute of my teaching here.What I found ironic was that young teachers here were making the same salary as principals back in the UK and today,teachers with around 8 to 10 years experience are making about $94,000 per year.This speaks volumes and many teachers in Canada cannot understand why their colleagues in the UK work for a salary that is unheard of here.British teachers enjoy a really good reputation in Canada and when we receive them on a teacher exchange,it really opens their eyes as they cannot believe how Canadian teachers live and love their jobs.I do hope the teachers in the UK solved this problem because they work very hard but I am glad I came to a country that treats professional people correctly and respects the important work they do in society.

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks for your reply Joseph. It is great to hear about your experiences in Canada. As you say, there are many issues with teaching here in the UK and things have deteriorated significantly over the last 5 years. However, like you, I don’t doubt the commitment of our teachers to do the very best job for their students despite cack-handed and downright chaotic policies imposed on them by our incompetent political class.


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