Teach First warns recruitment crisis is ‘worse than 2002’

The country’s largest provider of new teachers is warning that schools are facing the worst recruitment crisis this century.

Teach First says that demand from schools for its teachers is “more than double” what it was this time last year, suggesting that school leaders are struggling to fill vacancies.

Chief executive Brett Wigdortz told TES: “The general sense we are getting from heads is that it is worse than it was in 2002.”

That crisis, 13 years ago, led to schools in England scouring the globe for talent and the government relaxing the rules on support staff teaching, as headteachers struggled to recruit.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan acknowledged the problem this week, saying: “I am very conscious we have to look at the [teacher supply] pipeline.

“There will always be a role for teachers coming in from overseas…that brings a vibrancy,” she added in a TES interview. “It’s also about tackling issues like workload, obviously.”

Teach First recruits graduates to teach in disadvantaged areas. Last year, it took the charity until the end of June to place all its new teachers. This year, all participants had places by the end of March, despite a large increase in numbers – from 1,400 to 1,700 teachers.

“There is a real teacher shortage happening,” Mr Wigdortz said. “Schools are struggling for lots of reasons.”

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