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Shortage leads to schools recruiting non-specialised subject teachers

Wed, 10 Feb 2016

In a desperate effort to fill roles, schools are recruiting growing numbers of teachers for positions they are not expert in, a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has found.

The report, published today, found between 2011 and 2014 more classes were being taught by teachers without a relevant post A-level qualification in that subject area.

Education recruitment agencies have picked up on the trend. 

Naomi Howells, business development manager at education recruiter Class People, told Recruiter that with a national shortage of teachers, many secondary teachers are now securing permanent posts in a subject they did not specialise in.

Lee Carpenter, director of supply teacher agency PK education, told Recruiter underperforming schools in particular are finding it hard to recruit as their reputation puts off candidates from applying. His agency has seen teachers apply for roles they wouldn’t normally consider in subject areas they do not specialise in due to the ‘try before you buy’ service PK education offers schools for permanent roles.

“More often than not we find that candidates who ‘try before they buy’ discover that the school far exceeds their expectation,” Carpenter added. “They enjoy working there and teaching the subject and are happy to accept a permanent position in the school.”

The NAO report also found the number of teachers leaving the profession increased by 11% between 2011 and 2014.

Roger Marsh, managing director at education recruiter ITN Mark Education, warns despite recent government advertising aimed at alleviating teacher shortages, talent shortages are unlikely to improve any time soon.

“Our own experience backs up those views held by school leaders, as it is evident that the number of vacancies remaining unfilled is on the increase,” Marsh said.

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