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Teachers leaving profession at the highest number since records began, whilst applications to teach fall in the North East

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Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, today warns of a growing teacher supply crisis, after new analysis by Labour shows that schools are facing chronic shortages of teachers - a result of a combination of the Tories’ botched handling of recruitment, lack of forward planning, and doing down the profession. The system risks losing highly mobile, qualified graduates to other professions, particularly in subjects that are key to boosting our country’s competitiveness, such as maths and Computer Science.

These new figures show:

  • Rising numbers – almost 50,000 – of teachers quit this year, the highest figures since records began. This year more teachers quit than actually entered the profession.
  • Applications to teach are also falling – down by 21,000 compared to this time last year. Applications are dropping in every region across the country and are down in key subjects such as English, maths and ICT. In the North East, there are 290 fewer applications for teacher training than this time last year.
  • Official figures reveal that the country will need nearly 160,000 additional teachers over the next 3 years, yet on current trends there could be a shortfall of 65,000 applicants over this period.
  • 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.

In order to fill vacancies, the Tories are increasingly hiring from overseas. The Government have been forced to launch an international recruitment programme to attract teachers from abroad. At the same time more teachers left our country last year to teach in English international schools than qualified to become a teacher through the university PGCE route.

Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“For years, this Government chose to ignore the growing problem with teacher supply, continuing instead to botch recruitment and do down the profession at every opportunity. As a result schools are now struggling against falling applications and the highest number of teachers quitting the profession on record.

“The Tories’ failure to take this problem seriously is threatening standards in our schools and damaging the education of our children – it cannot go on any longer. Last week David Cameron claimed to care about social mobility – nothing is more important to raising standards, aspirations and social mobility than having excellent teachers in our schools.”

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