Exclusive: DfE starts overseas recruitment drive to combat staffing crisis

The Department for Education is mounting its own overseas teacher recruitment drive as it attempts to get to grips with a staffing crisis in England’s schools, TES has learned.

Officials have already pinpointed the “target countries” where they believe physics and maths specialists can be found to ease growing shortages in English classrooms.

The news comes despite ministers’ insistence that there is no teacher recruitment crisis.

Last week, fears of increasing staff shortages grew as the government failed to hit its targets for recruiting trainee teachers across a range of subjects.

Now an email from a DfE official, seen by TES, reveals that the government has decided to turn to teachers trained overseas as a solution. It states that “the department has recently embarked on an exploratory Stem [science, technology, engineering and maths] international recruitment programme”.

“The aim of the Stem international recruitment project is to boost direct recruitment of high-quality mathematics and physics teachers coming from overseas,” continues the email, written in July by an official working in the department’s teacher-supply division.

The official adds that the DfE is “building relationships with target countries”, and talking to headteachers who are currently recruiting teachers internationally – and those who would like to.

But Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL teaching union, said the meausre was “just a sticking plaster”.

To read the full story, get the 4 September edition of TES on your tablet or phone, or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS.

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