Half of schools short of teachers in core subjects

The Times is reporting claims from head teachers that the majority of schools are facing a teacher recruitment crisis in core subjects…

The report refers to a survey undertaken by the Association of School and College Leaders in which more than half of heads indicated their schools had vacancies in maths, half that they had vacancies in science and almost half that there were shortages in English.

The ASCL is suggesting the problem is about to become more acute because of a combination of fewer graduates training to be teachers, an increase in the number of secondary age children and an improved job market for the best graduates.

The survey – completed in February – had responses from just under a hundred schools found that 86 per cent had experienced recruitment difficulties in core subjects.

A head teacher in the south is quoted as saying

“I have advertised for a head of maths twice and so far only had one applicant. This is a non-selective comprehensive school which has been significantly above average for maths consistently in the last five years. Why wouldn’t someone want to lead such a great team?”

ASCL head Brian Lightman is quoted as saying

“We need the next government to ensure that schools and colleges can recruit and retain the highest calibre of staff. The existing teacher supply model does not work.”

More at: Half of schools short of teachers in core subjects (subscription may be required)


It is not clear how robust these figures are because we don’t have details of the survey and it could well be self-selecting, meaning those more concerned about the issue are more likely to respond.

However, that caveat aside, the message about recruitment in core subjects seems stark – it’s tough and getting tougher.

Would you concur or have anything to add? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Employment, Secondary and Teaching.


  1. MikeHaines20

    MaryMyatt SchoolsImprove Government’s methodology for assessing teacher supply ignores local shortages which are often acute!

  2. teachernate

    ssat SchoolsImprove ASCL_UK thetimes special school recruitment for severe and complex needs is also a challenge


    ssat SchoolsImprove ASCL_UK thetimes ….. so tough for schools judged inadequate on account of eg Maths outcomes that can’t appoint HoD

  4. DisIdealist

    DEEEPECK brianlightman ssat SchoolsImprove ASCL_UK thetimes Never any problem getting historians. No golden handshake for me! 🙁

  5. wraitken

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove tele_education this would be an interesting statistics lesson, although that isn’t core either! Lol

  6. LearntSchool

    MikeHaines20 MaryMyatt SchoolsImprove Scary right? Though I don’t like bribery-recruitment or begging teachers to stay either…

  7. Jonesboy110

    SchoolsImprove This is a direct consequence of the terrible way existing teachers have been treated by this coalition government & SLTs

Let us know what you think...