Schools are increasingly struggling to recruit teaching staff amid a huge increase in vacancies, new research shows.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said there are almost 40,000 job vacancies in nursery, primary and secondary schools – a double-digit percentage rise over the past few weeks.
The number of job adverts has increased to 1.4 million after a rise of 205,000 earlier this month, the REC said.
There are notable increases in adverts for jobs in the education and construction sectors such as teachers, plasterers and scaffolders, as well as in the clergy.
REC boss Neil Carberry said: “This new job ads data shows stability in employer demand for staff. The labour market is not surging, as it did for much of 2022, but it remains a good time to be looking for a job. Firms still need to hire and there are plenty of opportunities out there.
“There is nothing in this data that suggests that labour and skills shortages are going away soon, so companies need to adapt their hiring plans to match that. A focus on reaching into different communities, skill development and staff engagement is likely to pay off. Across the country, the best firms are working with their recruiters on this.
“There is much the Government can do, too. The Budget started to focus in the right areas on childcare and support to work, but there is a lot to do if these plans are to really make a difference.
“A double-digit percentage rise in the past few weeks to nearly 40,000 nursery, primary and secondary job vacancies shows the scale of the issues with pay, workload and conditions of service among teachers.
“Schools are increasingly struggling to hire as the impact of several years of below-target initial recruitment plays out.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary at school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “We’ve been warning for some time that there is a real crisis in recruitment and retention in schools affecting both leadership and teaching roles.
“It is little wonder when staff have faced years of significant real-terms pay and funding cuts on top of long hours and a stressful high-stakes system of accountability.
“The Government’s latest offer on pay and working conditions falls short of addressing this and many our members are warning they would need to make cuts, including to jobs, even to afford to inadequate pay rise offered last week.
“Ministers need to wake up and realise that schools are nothing without their staff.
“Without an ambitious plan to address this crisis and make careers in teaching and leadership more attractive long-term propositions, children’s learning will suffer as schools struggle to provide the education pupils deserve with increasingly stretched resources.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “It’s a desperately sad state of affairs when schools are unable to attract people to what should be an enjoyable and rewarding career.
“Teacher shortages are a long-term problem that has only worsened since the pandemic. As many other professions are able to offer greater flexibility, including hybrid working, other aspects such as pay and conditions become increasingly important.
“So when faced with real-terms pay cuts, unsustainable workload pressures and a punitive accountability system it should not come as a surprise that graduates and experienced professionals alike are turning away from teaching.
“The education system cannot function properly if it does not have enough teachers.
“This should be obvious to everyone but the Government has done nowhere near enough to address the cause of the shortages and their recent pay offer suggests they still haven’t grasped the scale of the issue.”