More than one in 10 schools are using more unqualified staff to teach, as shortages bite, TES survey reveals

More than one in 10 schools have increased the number of unqualified staff who teach lessons to counter growing shortages, a new study has revealed.

Almost half (46 per cent) of headteachers have reported unfilled positions at their schools, according to a TES Global survey.

In an effort to fill these vacancies, 11 per cent of senior leaders are using more unqualified staff, and 26 per cent are using more supply teachers, research suggests.

The leadership survey, of nearly 250 headteachers, reveals that schools have also been recruiting teachers from overseas (9 per cent) and using teachers to cover subjects in which they do not specialise (16 per cent).

According to a new TES Teacher Recruitment Index, based on interviews with nearly 5,000 schools, a physics teacher in London is the hardest position to fill. The second toughest to find is a secondary maths teacher in the the East of England.

Schools are struggling to hire new staff in core subjects like maths, English and physics. Last month, TES learned of a secondary willing to pay a head of science a £50,000 salary to fill a vacancy.

Schools in London, the South East and West Midlands are facing the biggest challenges with recruitment compared with three years ago, according to the recruitment study. Meanwhile, the North East, North West and South West are finding it easier to recruit teachers.

Vic Goddard, principal at Passmores Academy in Harlow and star of TV show Educating Essex, said: “This is a challenge all over the country. Our proximity to London means that we are having to work incredibly hard to recruit teachers for shortage subjects, normally with very little success.

“I am having to think very creatively about how to attract good quality teaching talent for subjects like maths, whether that’s looking overseas or even looking at how we can give teachers somewhere to live to get them to join us.”

Rob Grimshaw, CEO of TES Global, said: “While we may not be facing a national crisis in teacher recruitment, it will certainly feel like it in some areas. Schools are having to become increasingly creative to find the talent they need.

“The TES Recruitment Index shows recruitment challenges facing schools across England in unprecedented detail. By sharing this data we hope to support a collective and targeted response to difficulties with teacher recruitment in specific subjects and regions.”

Responding to the index, a Department for Education spokesperson said: “The number and quality of teachers in our classrooms is at an all-time high. New figures show we have recruited more trainees than last year and the number of former teachers coming back to the classroom has continued to rise year after year – from 14,720 in 2011 to 17,350 in 2014.

“The National Teaching Service will recruit 1500 outstanding teachers and school leaders to work in underperforming schools in challenging areas. We are expanding Teach First into every region of the country and the School Direct programme offers all schools – regardless of location – the chance to take control and develop high quality staff and future leaders. Our new range of generous bursaries – up to £30,000 in subjects such as physics – will ensure we continue to attract the best and the brightest.”

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