The Department for Education is a veritable gold mine of statistical data for those who are prepared to wade through it. Much like a favourite childhood book of mine, ‘Where’s Wally’, the data can be both richly detailed and at times utterly frustrating. This week saw the publication of the latest school workforce data, a series of documents containing thousands of individual pieces of information relating to, amongst other things, teaching staff in schools.
For those with responsibility for teacher recruitment, the picture looks bleak; over the last 12 months the number of vacant posts in state schools has risen by a third from 2013. The number of posts which have been temporarily filled is up by the same proportion.
This is not just a recent blip, since 2010 the number of vacant posts has almost trebled, from 380 to 1030 and the number of posts which have been temporarily filled has nearly doubled from 1790 to 3210.
From a retention standpoint the sky is a similar shade of grey; nearly a fifth of those entering the teaching profession leave within their first two years in the classroom. The numbers of those leaving the profession for reasons other than retirement (affectionately termed ‘wastage’ by the DfE) continues to rise and stands at 35,760 a staggering increase of 13.5% from the previous year.
With pupil numbers forecast to rise by as much as 40% in some areas over the next 5 years and new schools being planned, built and opened to cater for this population growth this is a concerning outlook. The statistics speak for themselves, but it is on the ground in schools and classrooms where the impact of these figures is being felt.
What are the realities in your school or local authority? Are you bucking the trend or facing the challenges of recruiting? We’d like to know. Please do leave a comment – we’re looking forward to hearing your views.