Shortage in teachers costing schools millions in supply staff
A shortage in teachers is costing schools hundreds of millions of pounds in providing supply staff, teachers’ union leaders have warned. According to the National Union of Teachers (NUT) schools spent around £733m last year on supply teachers, money that should have been spent on children’s education. Head teachers have confirmed that they are having difficulty recruiting staff, and the Department for Education has launched a television advertising campaign aiming to attract more people to want to become trainee teachers, as 35,000 need to be recruited each year.
The lack of trainee teachers means that schools are being forced to spend their budgets on employing supply staff, who don’t receive the same pay or benefits as full-time staff. The government is offering tax free bursaries of up to £30,000 for graduates of subjects such as physics who want to enter teaching, as there is a particular lack of teachers in certain subjects.
Christine Blower, leader of the NUT, warned that private supply teacher agencies were making millions whilst supply teachers’ pay continued to fall. She also reinforced the idea that the money was being wasted when it should be being used to improve children’s education.