MPs to investigate teacher recruitment problems

MPs have announced they will investigate whether there is a crisis in teacher recruitment.

An inquiry by the Commons education select committee, announced today, aims to establish whether ministers are right to describe teacher recruitment as a “challenge” rather than a crisis.

The inquiry will look at evidence on teacher numbers at a regional level and by subject, and aims to establish the “root causes” of problems with teacher supply. It will make recommendations to the government on tackling teacher shortages.

The move comes after schools minister Nick Gibb told TES in July: “I don’t believe there is a crisis. There’s a challenge and we’re managing the challenge.”

Headteachers have said they face unprecedented difficulties filling teaching posts and this summer it emerged that Teach First, the country’s biggest provider of new teachers, believed England was experiencing its worst teacher shortage this century.

Neil Carmichael, a Conservative MP and chair of the select committee, said: “The secretary of state has set out her plan for the recruitment and retention of teachers, pointing to teacher numbers at an all-time high.

“But others in the education sector talk of a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention in England, and warn of chronic teacher shortages in some subjects and parts of the country.

“In our evidence session, we will explore whether England is facing a teacher supply crisis or whether it is merely a ‘challenge’, as the department has described it.”

The deadline for submitting evidence to the committee is 20 November.

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