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Thursday, 24 January, 2002, 17:57 GMT
Teacher shortage 'has worsened'
Teacher recruitment problems have increased over the past year and show no sign of improving, an independent body has concluded.

The School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) - which advises the government on the pay and conditions of school teachers in England and Wales - said the gap between supply and demand was likely to remain.

In its 2002 report, the STRB said the number of occasional supply teachers had risen by over 5,000 between 1999 and 2001.

And the demand for teachers would only increase further, the STRB warned, for the following reasons:

  • the need for more secondary teachers, arising from the projected growth of pupils

  • the difficulties in reaching teacher training targets in some subjects

  • the need for more teachers in the light of the PricewaterhouseCooper's study on teachers' workload.

    However, the report pointed out that the problems of teacher recruitment and retention were unveiling against a backdrop of rising teacher numbers.

    Heads want to provide good quality teachers
    The Department for Education said the number of teachers in England had risen by 5,500 between January 2000 and January 2001 and the number of vacancies had risen by 2,060.

    "This suggested that almost 8,000 extra teaching posts had been created in the year," the department told the STRB.

    By increasing teacher salaries the government was helping schools to recruit and retain the "high-quality teachers they need to offer pupils a world-class education".

    And other measures, such as reducing bureaucratic burdens, offering new guidelines on school discipline and investing in professional development would help teacher retention, the department said.


    General Secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, Nigel de Gruchy, expressed disappointment that the STRB had not recommended a pay rise for teachers of more than a 3.5%.

    He accused the body of not being truly independent.

    "They acknowledge the problem of teacher shortages, but then back off in view of the government's stance on affordability.

    "The recognise but hardly begin to solve the problem," he said.

  • See also:

    28 Aug 01 | Education
    Teacher shortages worst for decades
    30 Aug 01 | Education
    Teacher crisis 'long-term problem'
    28 Aug 01 | Education
    Where are all the teachers?
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