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Demand Vs Supply of Teachers – will it Impact Safer Recruitment?

10k Schools

Author: 10k Schools

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Despite the Department for Education’s announcement of a record number of teachers in 2023, the quantitative figure doesn’t account for the critical teacher-to-pupil ratio. While the teacher count has reached an all-time high, it hasn’t kept pace with the escalating student population.

Examining the period from 2010/11 to 2022/23 reveals a 12% growth in students compared to a 6% increase in teachers. This discrepancy is further underscored when assessing the pupil-to-teacher ratio. Although primary and nursery levels have maintained a relatively steady ratio, secondary and special/PRU education have witnessed an increase, indicating potential challenges in addressing student needs effectively.

Secondary education faces a persistent struggle to attract new teachers, with the Department for Education falling short of recruitment targets since 2012/13, excluding the anomalous year of 2020/21 during the pandemic. Subjects such as Physics, Computer Science, DT, Business, MFL, Music, Art & Design, Drama, and RE are notably affected.

Teacher attrition is a concern, particularly among male educators, with almost 24% leaving within three years and over 41% departing within a decade. Recent surveys indicate declining job satisfaction, with only 59% expecting to continue teaching in three years, down from pre-pandemic figures of 74-77%.

On the international front, the allure of teaching abroad is evident, with nearly one-third of UK teachers contemplating leaving the profession before embracing international opportunities. The international teaching market has witnessed a remarkable 60% growth in both schools and employed teachers from 2012 to 2022.

The burgeoning demand for teachers, both domestically and internationally, poses challenges to maintaining robust safer recruitment protocols in schools. The consequences include:


  1. Reduced Scrutiny in the Hiring Process: Schools may rush recruitment processes, potentially compromising thoroughness. Background checks and screening procedures may be expedited, raising the risk of hiring individuals with questionable backgrounds.

  2. Impact on Student Safety: Inadequate recruitment may jeopardize student safety, exposing schools to risks of abuse or neglect. The likelihood of incidents due to insufficiently vetted candidates may increase.
  3. Increased Workload on Existing Staff: Teacher shortages may burden existing staff, compromising their ability to provide adequate supervision and support, impacting overall school safety.
  4. Increased Reliance on Temporary or Unqualified Staff: Schools, facing shortages, may turn to temporary staff without rigorous screening. Potential risks arise if individuals with inadequate qualifications or inappropriate backgrounds interact with students.

Addressing the teacher supply challenge requires governmental intervention, and technology can play a pivotal role. Automation in the hiring process can enhance efficiency, accuracy, and safety. By leveraging technology, schools can mitigate the impact of this perfect storm, ensuring a streamlined and effective recruitment process that aligns with safeguarding priorities.


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