The UK teaching recruitment crisis
A contributed post by Joseph Peake.
Teachers are the most important professionals in the world. Without teachers, no other profession could exist.
Therefore, it is essential that the UK’s teaching recruitment crisis is dealt with quickly and efficiently. This ensues that there are enough teachers for the schools and pupils that require them.
A world without teachers is a world without the majority of skills – social and professional – that we need.
Why is there a recruitment crisis?
The main reasons that there is a teaching recruitment crisis in the UK come down to a number of varying factors.
First of all, more people are leaving the profession than are coming into it. This will undoubtedly cause issues when spaces aren’t filled and teachers who are already working have cover for them. If this isn’t done, the children who should be being taught will start to miss out.
This leads us to the second factor – the working hours. At first glance, it seems teachers ‘have it easy’. They appear to work from around 8.30am to 3pm or so, five days a week. Then on top are the holidays: six weeks in the summer as well as three weeks at Christmas and two at Easter.
Unfortunately, this is not accurate. Teachers will often be at the school well before and after the children have come and gone. They are preparing lessons and ensuring that everything is ready for the next day. Then there is the work that they will take home: marking, lesson planning, learning the new syllabus and so on.
The next factor that needs to be looked at is the salaries. In fact, teachers’ salaries are relatively average, and certainly not low as many people think. Plus there are many ways to increase that salary by specialising in certain subjects. This is especially so for maths and the sciences, as there is a significant recruitment issue in this sector.
However, the perception that teachers are not paid very much can put off potential recruits.
Finally, there are more children in school now than there has been for the past three decades. This is due to a ‘baby boom’ from around 2008 onwards. It means even if a school had enough teachers before, they might well require new teachers now.
What can be done?
The first thing is already being done by teaching agencies Birmingham and beyond. This is to ensure that the teaching profession is explained in its entirely to potential new teachers.
They need to look beyond the headlines and the scare stories and see that teaching, as well as being a noble and essential profession, has many perks. The salaries are reasonable, for example, and the sense of satisfaction is immense.
Once we start to gain more teaching staff in schools, the working hours will reduce too because there will be more time in the day to do the work that might currently be done at home.
Yes, it might be a hard slog until we reach that point, but once it arrives – which it will with the correct drive to reduce the recruitment crisis – teachers will be much more comfortable and happier in their jobs.