ATL comment on rise in teacher vacancies

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Press release
22 June 2017 by ATL Media Office
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), comments on the teacher workforce statistics published today.

She said: “The Department for Education must take the rise in the number of teacher vacancies, widely recognised to be an underestimate, as a clear message that it needs to act fast to address the deepening teacher shortage crisis. If it fails to act soon, even more schools will struggle to find a qualified teacher for every class.

“We are concerned, although unsurprised, at the continuing decline in the number of teachers staying in the profession for longer than six years. Unless the Government does more to ensure that teachers are supported in the early stages of their career and to reduce teacher workload and burn-out this trend is likely to continue.

“It is also not surprising that the number of people applying to teach is stalling when teachers’ pay has been held down for eight years and is not keeping pace with inflation. Today’s figures show that between November 2015 and November 2016 there were just an additional 400 full-time equivalent teachers, which is the smallest annual increase in recent years. When the number of secondary pupils is expected to increase 10% by 2020 (compared to 2016) it is especially worrying that the number of secondary teachers fell by 2,700 (November 2015 to November 2016).

“The Government needs to end the public sector pay cap and provide a significant and fully funded pay increase for teachers to address the recruitment and retention crisis and ensure students get the help and support they need.”


Note to editors:

  • The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing approximately 170,000 teachers, headteachers, lecturers and support staff in maintained and independent nurseries, schools, sixth form, further and higher education colleges and universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • ATL exists to help members, as their careers develop, through first rate research, advice, information and legal advice, and to work with government and employers to defend its members’ pay, conditions and career development.
  • ATL is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). ATL is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.
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