Quitting teachers will create a classroom crisis

More teachers are leaving the profession than joining it - leading to a potential crisis in education
More teachers are leaving the profession than joining it - leading to a potential crisis in education
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The rising number of teachers quitting the profession could lead to an educational crisis, warns Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero.

New research shows that this year more teachers left than actually entered the profession, with applications to teach in the East Midlands down by 750 compared to this time last year.

More teachers are leaving the profession than joining it - leading to a potential crisis in education

More teachers are leaving the profession than joining it - leading to a potential crisis in education

It is estimated the country will need nearly 160,000 additional teachers over the next three years, yet on current trends there could be a shortfall of 65,000 applicants.

On top of this, pupil numbers continue to grow – with a projected 582,000 more primary and secondary-age pupils by 2020 – requiring thousands more teachers just to maintain class sizes at their current level.

Ms De Piero said: “The blame for the teacher shortage crisis now hitting schools in our area can be laid firmly at the door of this Government.

“Tory ministers have repeatedly done down the teaching profession, piling pressure and bureaucracy with good teachers quitting the profession in droves.

More teachers are leaving the profession than joining it - leading to a potential crisis in education

More teachers are leaving the profession than joining it - leading to a potential crisis in education

“The Government needs to take urgent action to end this shortage so pupils don’t pay the price.”

More teachers left the country last year to teach in English international schools (18,000) than qualified to become a teacher through the university PGCE route (17,000).

One teacher, who preferred not to be named, said several factors had contributed to a ‘perfect storm’ in the profession.

He said: “It’s no longer a job for life and people move on. The public perception of teachers has changed. It is not held in such high esteem as it was.

Teaching unions warn that 'a perfect storm' of factors could lead to a crisis in the profession.

Teaching unions warn that 'a perfect storm' of factors could lead to a crisis in the profession.

“Education has become a political football and teachers have become a fair target for anybody who wants to have a dig.

“A lot of younger teachers are finding it difficult to cope with the pressure. Schools are under more and more pressure. If you can’t deliver 100 per cent you fall foul of disciplinary processes.

“It is 24 -7. People love it at first but then as time moves on and they want to start families, they don’t have the time to devote.”

He added that prospective teachers were now chasing better-paid jobs in the private sector, and fewer people were looking at it as a long-term proposition.

More than half of teachers are considering leaving the profession in the next two years, according to a YouGov poll.

The top reasons given were “volume of workload” (61 per cent) and “seeking a better work/life balance” (57 per cent).

Starting salaries for teachers are now 20 per cent below other graduate professions and the gap widens progressively with each year of service.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “This latest report bears out what NUT surveys have found. Teachers love their jobs but the profession has become so unattractive and unworkable that more than half of teachers are considering leaving the profession.”

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “Despite Government claims to the contrary there is a crisis in teacher supply.

“Since 2010, year on year cuts to teachers’ pay, workload spiralling out of control, punitive performance management policies and regular denigration of the profession by ministers and their supporters have made teaching uncompetitive and unattractive.”

But Conservative MP for Sherwood Mark Spencer said: “Teaching is a fantastic career and we’re seeing the number of people doing postgraduate teacher training rise for this academic year 2015/16, up three per cent on last year, so I think the picture that Labour are trying to present here is them playing at party politics again to an extent.

“The latest information show that there are more ex-teachers returning than ever and that there are over 13,000 more teachers employed now than there were five years ago, which doesn’t scream crisis to me.

“I’ve had some very positive discussions with teachers in my constituency who fully support the Government’s agenda, and others who don’t. No policy will please everyone, but these figures I mention are very positive.”

FACT CHECK

Between November 2013 and November 2014 a total of 49,120 teachers left the profession - an increase of 3,480 teachers on the previous year, and the highest number of teachers quitting the profession since records began.

This year more people quit teaching (49,120) than entered the profession (48,900) while applications to teach have fallen by 21,000 since this time last year.

In the East Midlands applications to teach fell from 9,480 to 8,730; a drop of 750.

More teachers left the country last year to teach in English international schools (18,000) than qualified to become a teacher through the university PGCE route (17,000).