Report finds teacher recruitment is below target

Teacher recruitment is still "far below target," the annual labour market report from the National Foundation for Education Research (NFER) has found.

Despite the Department for Education saying workload reduction is a policy priority, NFER’s reported that rising teacher working hours mean the government may face a challenge in meeting its workload reduction target. 

Teachers continue to work longer hours than similar graduates in other jobs during a typical working week. 

According to NFER’s research, teachers now say pupil behaviour is driving higher workload and that behaviour management and pastoral care should be key priority areas for workload reduction. More support from outside agencies for specific pupil needs such as special educational needs and disability (SEND) support, mental health and safeguarding are seen by teachers as key to further workload reduction.  

In terms of recruitment, the report found that while teacher recruitment is on track to be better this year than last year due to bursary increases and new initiatives to attract international applicants, it is still likely to be far below target.  

It predicted secondary recruitment will improve, but still miss its target by about 40 per cent, with 10 out of 17 secondary subjects likely to have shortfalls. Last year, the target was missed by 50 per cent.

Jack Worth, school workforce lead at the NFER and co-author of the report said that teacher supply is in a "critical state" that risks quality of education.

He said: "We urge the current Government to take action to improve teacher recruitment and retention, and the political parties to develop long-term plans for after the election. 

“The 2024 teacher pay award should exceed 3.1 per cent – the latest forecast of the rise in average earnings next year – to narrow the gap between teacher pay and the wider labour market and improve recruitment and retention. This needs to be accompanied by a long-term strategy to improve the competitiveness of teacher pay while crucially ensuring schools have the funds to pay for it."

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