Page last updated at 15:04 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 16:04 UK

Teacher vacancies rise a quarter

Teacher and pupil
Overall the vacancy rate is very small

The number of primary and nursery school vacancies in England rose by nearly a third over a year.

Official figures show vacancies in these types of schools rose 210 to 870 in January 2008. In secondary schools, vacancies rose by a fifth to 1,470.

Unfilled posts in all state schools rose by 23% to 2,510 over the same period, the figures show.

The government says the overall vacancy rate is very small at 0.7% and that there are record numbers of teachers.

In primary schools the rate is 0.5% and in secondary schools the rate is 0.8%.

'Real concern'

But Liberal Democrat schools spokesman David Laws said the absolute increase was worrying.

"Itís a real concern that teacher vacancies continue to increase," he said.

"High quality teachers are the cornerstone of a good education system and without them the government will simply fail in its ambition to raise standards."

He also said there was a serious problem in recruiting teachers in key subjects such as maths and physics.

"We already know that some of the most challenging schools do not have properly qualified teachers in these subjects."

According to the latest DCSF figures there were 250 maths, 270 science and 210 English vacancies. But the same data did not give the overall figures for maths, science and English teacher posts.

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said the data was not new but that it had just been republished.

"It's a shame that some of our critics only concentrate on the vacancies and totally fail to put this into perspective.

"The days of mass teacher shortages, low pay and poor working conditions are long gone thanks to record investment in schools and the highest ever wages for teachers."

Shadow Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: "The significant rise in vacancies is alarming. It is a symptom of a profession that is weighed down by too many initiatives, too much bureaucracy and form-filing and too much disruptive pupil behaviour in the classroom."

National Union of Teachers acting general secretary Christine Blower said: "The government has to realise that teachers' salaries have a direct impact on recruitment.

"Graduates are not being attracted into a profession that pays less than most other graduate jobs.

"A recent survey showed teachers are working ever longer hours; more work for decreasing pay."

More teachers, but vacancies rise
29 Apr 08 |  Education
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17 Aug 07 |  Education

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