The teacher labour market in England


This report by the UK think tank Education Policy Institute (EPI) assesses the state of the teacher labour market in England.

The research considers the latest trends in the profession, and examines the latest figures on how the quality of teachers varies across different subjects, areas in the country, and at different levels of school deprivation. This is crucial, given children’s school attainment and life chances are greatly impacted by the level of teacher quality. The teaching profession faces increased uncertainty in the years ahead, with shortages developing in many areas. Ensuring that there are enough teachers in schools across the country, and enough highly-qualified individuals in these roles, will be a huge domestic policy challenge for the government.

The report finds that there are acute shortages of highly-qualified teachers in priority subjects and most disadvantaged schools England faces a growing challenge to recruit sufficient teachers. Staff/pupil ratios have risen from 15.5 in 2010 to 17 in 2018, and in priority subjects such as maths and science, around half of teachers have left their posts within five years. In shortage subjects, including maths and physics, only a minority of teachers possess a relevant degree. Less than half of GCSE maths teachers have a maths or science degree – for graduates with these degrees, the average pay is higher in other jobs. Schools teaching poor children particularly struggle to attract teachers with degrees in maths and science. Outside London, fewer than 1 in 5 (17%) physics teachers in the most disadvantaged schools have a relevant degree versus 52% in the most affluent non-London schools. In maths, fewer than 2 in 5 (37%) have a relevant degree in disadvantaged schools, versus 51% in the most affluent schools. Areas with the lowest proportions of teachers with a degree in shortage subjects are Portsmouth, Hampshire, Newham, Barnsley and Doncaster. The report calls on the government to consider rolling out a more ambitious scheme to give additional pay supplements in shortage subjects such as maths and sciences, particularly for those teaching in the most disadvantaged schools.

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