On Wednesday the public accounts committee admonished the education department (DfE) for not foreseeing the shortage of teachers and taking action to avoid it. By its own admission, the department has given insufficient priority to teacher retention and development.
Meg Hillier, the committee’s chair, said the government has been “sluggish and incoherent” in its response to falling teacher and rising pupil numbers.
Schools filled about half of vacant posts in 2015-16 with qualified teachers who had the experience and expertise required, according to the report.
The DfE forecasts that secondary school pupil numbers will increase by 540,000 (19.4%) between 2017 and 2025, and that pupil-teacher ratios will continue to rise.
The committee said the government had got the balance wrong by spending £555m a year training new teachers, and just £36m on retaining and developing teachers.
The report said that in the Midlands and the north of England more than 20% of pupils were in secondary schools rated as “requires improvement or inadequate for teaching, learning and assessment”.
“The quality of teaching and the level of teaching vacancies vary significantly across the country,” the report said. “However, the department does not seem to understand the reasons for the variation or the different challenges that schools in different regions face.”
Read the full article Teacher shortage leaves English schools in crisis, watchdog says
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