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EDITIONS
Friday, 27 April, 2001, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Ads for teachers bolster 'crisis' talk
classroom
Teaching unions say the crisis could deepen this autumn
School staffrooms faced a deluge of paper on Friday - as an education newspaper published a record number of job advertisements.

The Times Educational Supplement has 647 pages of recruitment ads in this week's edition, lending support to union claims of a crisis over teacher shortages.

The School Standards Minister, Estelle Morris, said the period after Easter was traditionally the peak time for recruitment adverts.

Schools have to make appointments by half term if candidates are to give proper notice and be available for the next academic year in September.

"This is the time of the year when schools are advertising," she told MPs on Thursday.


The crisis is severe now and we haven't seen anything yet

Doug McAvoy, NUT
But the adverts in the TES represent a 70% increase on those it carried in May last year.

And the newspaper said 400 other schools had been unable to place adverts this week, so next week's edition would be just as big.

Unions say it adds weight to claims of a "crisis" in staffing - literally.

When a copy arrived at the headquarters of the National Association of Head Teachers it tipped the scales at 3lb 6ozs (1,533gms).

"It will descend on school staff rooms with a deafening thud," observed the general secretary, David Hart.

"Government recruitment packages have started to attract more graduates into teaching but we are still losing far too many young and experienced teachers from the profession," he said.

"Until the government can stop this haemorrhaging of talent, recruitment and retention will remain the most serious problem facing ministers."

More posts

The government says the main reason for all the vacancies is that extra teaching posts have been created.

The Education Secretary, David Blunkett, has described the situation as a "challenge" and said that calling it a crisis would only make matters worse.

The General Secretary of the NUT, Doug McAvoy said: " Unless the government acts now on reducing the pressures faced by teachers and takes action to better their terms and conditions, then the potential for a disastrous crisis for teacher shortages in the autumn will be realised.

"The crisis is severe now and we haven't seen anything yet."

'Evidence'

The deputy editor of the TES, David Budge, said the fact that the paper had 647 pages of classified advertising underlined the gravity of the teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

He told BBC News Online: "The Department for Education has been rather reluctant to admit the full extent of the staff shortages but it cannot deny the evidence that our jobs columns provide.

"We are carrying 7,700 adverts for more than 9,000 teacher vacancies - but we could have published hundreds more had we had sufficient space."

The Liberal Democrats' education spokesman Phil Willis said it was time the government recognised that teacher recruitment and retention remained a serious issue.

He said: "When will the government acknowledge that the highest rate of teacher vacancies for a decade is threatening standards in schools?

"The government must commit now to increasing, not decreasing its targets for recruiting trainee teachers if we are to avoid this appalling shortage of teachers in future years."

See also:

18 Jan 01 | UK Education
11 Apr 01 | UK Education
19 Mar 01 | UK Education
09 Apr 01 | UK Education
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