£1.3 billion spent on supply teachers as schools struggle to recruit

Spending on supply teachers has risen by £300 million over the last two years to reach a record £1.3 billion, according to analysis by the Labour party.

The average spend by academies and free schools alone has increased by 42 per cent, and Labour has blamed the large increases on the government’s failure to recruit enough new trainees.

The Labour Party claims that the so called ‘teacher crisis’ is being worsened by record numbers of teachers leaving the profession, with 50,000 reportedly leaving this year alone.

Lucy Powell, the Shadow Education Secretary, said: “Nothing is more important for raising standards and improving social mobility than ensuring there are excellent teachers in every school. The government urgently needs to get a grip on this problem, which is affecting the education of our children, and start to take it seriously.”

However, a Department for Education spokesperson said: “It is completely misleading to suggest there are chronic shortages of teachers or that a record number of teachers have ‘quit’ the profession – our increased spending on supply teachers simply reflects our increased total spending in response to rising pupil numbers.

“The overall teacher vacancy rate is 0.3 per cent and has remained under one per cent for the past 15 years. The 49,120 that left the profession between November 2013 and November 2014 includes those that left through death or retirement.”

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