Nearly one in six teachers entering England’s classrooms for the first time last year qualified overseas, government figures suggest.
The Department for Education data reveals the extent to which foreign teachers are now filling the gaps in the country’s schools. It has emerged as headteachers warn of a “crisis” in teacher recruitment, with many qualified teachers from England leaving the profession or moving abroad, as a highly competitive graduate jobs market and bulging pupil numbers exacerbate staff shortages.
Between April 2014 and March 2015, a total of 6,179 overseas teachers had their qualifications recognised in England, allowing them to work as qualified teachers in the country’s schools. That equates to 16 per cent of the 38,746 awards of qualified teacher status (QTS) made in England over the same period, according to the National College for Teaching and Leadership statistics.
Professor John Howson, an expert on the teacher labour market and visiting senior research fellow at the University of Oxford’s department of education, told TES: “Clearly we don’t have enough teachers in the UK. Whereas we’re losing teachers who are going to work overseas, we’re beginning to suck people in from other countries where there’s a surplus of teachers.”
The overall figure of 6,179 will be lower than the true number of overseas-trained teachers joining England’s schools, because it only covers countries from the European Economic Area, as well as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US. The government allows teachers who qualified in these countries to be awarded English QTS by registering their qualifications.
It comes as maths education experts warn that even “dramatic increases” in the recruitment of maths teachers would not on its own solve the teacher supply problem. In a report published today, the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education called for greater emphasis on professional development and the retention of teachers, warning that many maths teachers leave the profession within three years of qualifying.
A DfE spokesperson said: “Outstanding teachers are in demand across the globe and, where schools wish to recruit from overseas, we want to ensure they are able to do so from those countries whose education standards are as high as our own.”
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