This article by Michael Savage in The Guardian on 4th February 2018

New figures expose recruitment crisis in secondary and further education – and in subjects government declared a priority

Ministers have failed to meet their own teacher recruitment targets for five years in a row, leading to 10,000 fewer secondary school teachers being hired than intended.

Staffing levels in further education have slumped by 20,000 since 2010, according to figures that have led to further claims of a crisis in the classroom. In secondary schools, shortfalls are most severe in subjects that ministers claim to be prioritising, such as maths, physics and computing.

The new research comes after a damning report last week from the public accounts committee that there had been a failure to persuade teachers to stay in the profession.

However, analysis of the government’s own teacher recruitment targets shows it has consistently failed to reach the necessary numbers – with the biggest shortfall coming last year, when the target was missed by 3,000.

The target for recruiting computing teachers has been missed by more than 1,000 over a five-year period. There has been a shortfall in physics teachers of almost 1,200, while the target for maths teachers has been missed by 1,850 recruits.

Official statistics show a sharp decline in teachers in further education colleges, a fall of nearly 20,000 between 2010 and 2017. Labour warned that the public sector pay cap left staff around £2,500 worse off over the same period. The Institute for Fiscal Studies thinktank stated that FE funding per pupil will fall to the level of 30 years ago by 2020.

Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary who uncovered the figures, said: “This government have created a crisis at every stage of our education system, missing their own school teacher recruitment targets in five consecutive years, while tens of thousands more are lost from further education colleges. The Tories’ public sector pay cap is leaving teachers thousands of pounds worse off and making it impossible for schools and colleges to recruit the staff they need.”

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