UK teacher shortage laid bare in comparison of European education

The UK has more than twice as many GCSE pupils per teacher as the European average, according to research comparing UK education to the rest of the continent reports FE News. 

Oxford Home Schooling, part of the Oxford Open Learning Trust, used data from Europe-wide reporting to investigate how the UK compares against three key areas of education: pupils per teacher, years spent in school and level of national investment in schools.

It is the ratio of pupils to qualified teachers in upper secondary education where the UK fares worst. With the average amongst the EU member states standing at 12.9 pupils aged 14-16 per teacher, the UK has 26.1 – according to Eurostat.

In a heat map of the continent, created to show the findings of each aspect of the research, the UK’s scenario is even more obvious. (See full article)

Even though the UK fares better in the bracket of lower secondary education (aged 10-13) its 14.3 pupils per teacher is only lower than the Netherlands (16.0) and France (15.1) in the EU, with the average being 12.6. Malta takes the prize with 6.9, with countries in Central and Eastern Europe faring noticeably better.

Dr Nick Smith, principal at Oxford Home Schooling, said: “The number of pupils per qualified teacher in a country directly affects schools’ abilities to employ enough teachers to keep class sizes at manageable levels.

“In general, it’s a good indicator of how highly each country prioritises education. A greater percentage suggests more investment in teacher training and school resources. That doesn’t always mean better results, though. Some countries may be able to spend less by having a more efficient system.”

Read more findings UK teacher shortage laid bare in comparison of European education

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