Schools struggling to recruit headteachers and staff: exclusive TES survey

More than a third of governors say their school is finding it difficult to attract good candidates for senior staff posts, an exclusive poll reveals today.

The survey of 5,800 school governors in England, organised by TES and the National Governors Association (NGA), also found that 38 per cent said their school struggled to attract good teachers.

The findings come amid growing concerns that many schools are struggling to recruit the staff they need. A highly competitive graduate jobs market and the bulge in pupil numbers have contributed to the problem.

Earlier this month schools minister Nick Gibb angered some heads when he told TES that he did not believe there was a “crisis” in teacher recruitment, although he admitted that: “There’s a challenge and we’re managing the challenge.”

The TES/NGA survey also found that the recruitment challenge comes as school budgets face increasing pressure. More than one in four respondents said that their school had reduced what it offered to pupils and 47.5 per cent said that they would need to cut spending on staff in the next two years.

Professor John Howson, an expert in teacher supply, said difficulties in recruiting headteachers varied by region and by sector. “In London the housing market has intensified the problem, especially for primary schools,” the University of Oxford academic said.

“In secondary, where headteacher salaries are larger, recruitment has traditionally been easier than primary, but there are two other problems there: an increase in the number of secondary schools and the creation of executive heads. Executive heads used to mean a headship shared between schools but now it has become something different, an additional post.

“And the additional factor at the moment is the football manager syndrome. This is the fear that if you get sandbagged by Ofsted you will get sacked and unlike football managers, who get sacked by one club and then rehired by another, in education that second bit is missing.”

The Department for Education released statistics earlier this month revealing that the number of teaching vacancies had risen by a third in a year, the number of teachers without QTS had increased by 3,700 and an increasing number of maths and English lessons were not being taught by subject specialists.

But the DfE has stressed that teaching is becoming more attractive to the “best” graduates, remains a hugely popular career, that the headteacher vacancy rate is less than 0.5 per cent and that there are more teachers in England’s classrooms now than ever before. It has also launched a recruitment campaign to tempt people into teaching.

For more findings from the survey, get the 24 July edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents

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