England faces growing challenge to recruit enough highly qualified teachers, report says

The Independent is reporting that England faces a growing and significant challenge to recruit enough highly qualified teachers – especially in priority subjects and at the most disadvantaged schools, a new report warns.

Pupil-to-teacher ratios have risen and half of teachers in shortage subjects – like maths and physics – have left their posts within five years, according to think tank Education Policy Institute (EPI).

Less than half of GCSE maths teachers have a maths or science degree, according to the report which highlights that the average pay for maths graduates is £4,000 above teachers.

And schools teaching poor children particularly struggle to attract teachers with relevant degrees in maths and science, it says.

Outside London, less than a fifth (17 per cent) of physics teachers in the most disadvantaged schools have a relevant degree versus 52 per cent in the most affluent non-London schools.

The EPI calls on the government to consider a national salary supplement scheme, funded by the Department for Education (DfE), for hard-to-staff areas and subjects “given the scale and severity of shortages” and the known links between teacher quality and pupil outcomes.

David Laws, executive chairman of the EPI, said: “The government faces a significant challenge to recruit enough teachers – particularly in subjects such as maths and sciences. Of particular concern is the unequal access to subject-qualified teachers for more disadvantaged schools outside London.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “But we don’t agree with its suggestion of paying salary supplements to teachers in selected subjects, such as maths and science, as it would mean other teachers were paid less than their colleagues despite having similarly demanding workloads and responsibilities.”

Read more England faces growing challenge to recruit enough highly qualified teachers, report says

Do you think salary supplements would help recruitment? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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