BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Education  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 5 August, 2002, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Teacher numbers hit '20-year high'
classroom
There are fewer short-term supply teachers in schools
The number of teacher vacancies in England has fallen, with official statistics showing a rise in the number of teachers in post.

The statistics showed there were 9,400 more full-time equivalent regular teachers in post than in January 2001 - a 2.3% increase - taking the total to 419,600.

Number of vacancies in January 2002
Nursery/primary 1,800
Secondary 2,450
Special 290
And the number of short-term supply teachers fell 2,100 to 17,500.

Teacher vacancies in nursery, primary, secondary and special schools fell 440 from 4,980 to 4,540 in the year to January 2002.

Vacant posts in nursery and primary schools fell by nearly 310 to 1,800, while those in secondaries dropped 140 to 2,450.

But special schools saw a slight rise in vacancies from 280 in 2001 to 290 in 2002.

Unqualified teachers

And in London, while vacancies fell in the year to January 2001 to 2002, there were still 1,270 unfilled posts in schools at the start of this year.

The number of unqualified, trainee and foreign teachers working in schools has risen, the figures showed.

The number of staff without qualified teacher status (QTS) increased from 2,300 to 7,600, while there were 3,200 "on routes to QTS" - up from 400 five years ago.

Welcome news

The figures, compiled by the Office of National Statistics, were hailed by the Department for Education as a 20-year high in the number of teachers in post.

The Schools Minister, David Miliband, said: "This is welcome news, but we are not taking our eyes off the ball.


The situation may appear better, but in many schools there are still vacancies

Gerald Imison, ATL
"The recruitment and retention of good quality teachers underpins our reform agenda. Without good teachers we will not transform our education system," said Mr Miliband.

"Of course it is not just about attracting more people into teaching. We want to keep them in our schools as well.

"We have listened to teacher's concerns about workload, poor discipline and high house prices and have acted on them in recent months."

'Painful facts'

But teachers' unions were sceptical about the statistics.

Gerald Imison, deputy general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said statistics could hide many painful facts.

"The situation may appear better, but in many schools there are still vacancies - there are still teachers teaching subjects for which they are not properly qualified and there are still vacancies being covered on a temporary basis, often through agencies.

"Not only do we need more teachers, teaching needs to be seen as a profession worth committing to long-term rather than a short-term step to something else," said Mr Imison.

"The challenge for the government is to make teaching attractive, both financially and in terms of the quality of life that a teacher should be able to enjoy."

Retention

Deputy secretary of the NASUWT union, Chris Keates, said it was good news for schools that they were able to recruit good teachers.

"But the issue for us will be the strategies put in place to retain them," said Ms Keates.

"We are hoping that the workload package to be announced in September will address this, because if the government doesn't get it right, there's a possibility that all the teachers recruited won't stay in the profession."

John Beattie, the new chair of the General Teaching Council said he was encouraged at the findings.

"Yet if teachers are to continue raising standards it is more complicated than just raising the number of recruits and continuing to bring in high quality entrants to the profession," said Mr Beattie.

"It is about keeping good teachers in teaching."

See also:

24 Apr 02 | Education
19 Apr 02 | Education
28 Aug 01 | Education
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Education stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes