School recruitment problems as teachers leave profession

A new survey has found that excess workload is the main concern for teachers in our region. Credit: PA

School leaders and teaching unions in our region have told us that more teachers are leaving due to excessive workload, meaning schools here are struggling to recruit good staff - and putting educational standards at risk.

These new statistics have been shared exclusively with ITV News Tyne Tees:

  • 69% of teachers in the North East surveyed by the NASUWT said they had 'seriously considered' leaving the profession in the last 12 months
  • More than 350 teachers in the North East and North Yorkshire left the profession in the first quarter of 2017, the National Union of Teachers estimates
  • 22 of 30 headteachers surveyed by SCHOOLS NorthEast said they found recruiting staff 'difficult' in the past year

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An independent study published last autumn said teachers in England are working too many hours, with around a fifth working a 60-hour week.

87.5% of teachers from the North East who responded to a new survey by teaching union NASUWT said workload was one of their five main concerns. That figure was around double the next biggest issues, of pupil behaviour, pay and school budget cuts.

They are doing excessive hours - day in, day out, on weekends and during the holidays - spending time doing work that many report to us has very little impact in the classroom.

That is the reason why such a high number of teachers are seriously considering leaving the profession.

We've got to do something to change that - to attract and retain the best people to teach our children.

We need to have a massive review of what is actually required. Ofsted need to be very clear. Headteachers need to pass that information on, so that every single job is looked at to say: 'does this need to be done?'

– Simon Kennedy - North East Regional Organiser, NASUWT

The regional network SCHOOLS NorthEast said concerns around the quality of applicants were the biggest problem for headteachers struggling with recruitment here.

Last year, it set up a not-for-profit online recruitment portal for schools in the region.

There is growing concern at the lack of candidates in key subjects and phases, as well as worrying shortages of educators available to work in more remote or challenging locations.

This will impact the quality of education pupils receive in the future if we cannot develop the pool of talent from which heads can recruit.

We also need the government to do more to make the profession as attractive as possible to those who recognise what a brilliant vocation it can be to play such an important role in helping children to develop and learn.

– Mike Parker - Director, SCHOOLS NorthEast
School leaders say they fear teachers leaving will impact educational standards. Credit: PA

The government insists the teaching workforce continues to grow.

Teaching remains an attractive, valued profession. The number of teachers entering our classrooms continues to outnumber those who retire or leave and we have 20% more teachers in the classroom today than in 2011.

We recognise that schools are facing cost pressures, which is why we are investing more than £1.3billion in recruitment over this parliament and have recruited more trainees in key subjects like physics and maths than last year. We want every child to have access to a great teacher and we have piloted schemes to encourage more former teachers to return to the classroom.

– Department for Education spokesperson