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Teacher numbers fall for first time in six years  

Teacher numbers fall for first time in six years amid fears low staff morale and inadequate pay are putting people off the profession

  • Figures show number of teachers fell by 1.2 percent between 2016 and 2017
  • It is the first time there has been a year-on-year decrease since 2011 
  • The decline is set to cause alarm as teacher numbers need to rise to meet the growing pupil population 

Teacher numbers have fallen for the first time in six years amid complaints that low staff morale and inadequate pay are putting people off the profession.

Figures show the number fell by 1.2 per cent between 2016 and 2017 – the latest year for which data is available.

It is the first time there has been a year-on-year decrease since 2011.

Although the decline is small, it will cause alarm because teacher numbers need to rise to keep up with the growing pupil population. Between 2017 and 2026 the number of secondary school pupils is expected to increase by 534,000 – almost 20 per cent.

The decline is set to cause alarm as teacher numbers need to rise up to deal with the growing pupil population

Teaching unions yesterday said the fall was down to the profession becoming less attractive because of long hours and mediocre pay, with graduates increasingly drawn to more lucrative careers in the private sector.

The figures were contained in a private Government email, leaked to the Times Educational Supplement (TES). It invited contractors to bid for a research contract exploring the extent to which teaching assistants have the appetite to become teachers.

The letter admitted that ‘challenges in teacher supply have worsened’ and that while teacher numbers are ‘broadly stable’ they have suffered a small fall. It adds that the situation could be compounded by increasing pupil numbers.

Chris Keates, of the NASUWT union, said the email showed ‘a crisis in teacher supply’ and blamed ‘increasing teacher workloads, dwindling pay, starting salaries which are increasingly uncompetitive and the relentless pressure’.

Chris Keates (pictured above), of the NASUWT union blamed increasing teacher worklloads

Chris Keates (pictured above), of the NASUWT union blamed increasing teacher worklloads

Andrew Morris, of the NEU union, added: ‘It is time for the Department for Education (DfE) to come clean, admit the extent of the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention, and work fast to fix it.’

The number of teachers across the UK is 10,000 higher than it was in 2010 – and currently stands at around 450,000.

However, analysis by TES last year found that 47,000 more secondary school teachers are needed by 2024 to cope with an explosion in the number of pupils.

The DfE has launched a recruitment drive to attract more people to the profession, with generous bursaries for some subjects.

A spokesman said 34,500 people began teacher training courses in 2018 – 2,600 more than in 2017 – and added: ‘This summer we announced a 3.5 per cent increase to the main pay range for classroom teachers backed by a £508million Government grant.

‘This was the biggest pay award in almost ten years.’

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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