More or less, but not enough

Last week in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for Education confirmed that ‘some 32,543 trainee teachers started undergraduate or postgraduate initial teacher training in 2014-15—236 fewer than last year’. She went on to add that on the fact that ‘one reason more teachers are attracted to the profession is the recovering economy’. I am not sure whether that was a slip of the tongue or a deliberate juxtaposition of two seemingly different facts?

Either way, the numbers are nowhere near as high as the DfE has predicted will be needed to meet the demands of schools in 2015 for teachers unless there are more returners than expected or, as now seems likely, schools start recruiting overseas. BBC Radio Kent is covering the issue on Tuesday morning in their Breakfast Show, as it seems likely that some schools in the county are already considering looking overseas for teachers.

Any qualified teachers in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia thinking about working in England as a teacher are reminded that they have automatic qualified teacher status and this means they can be paid the same rate as teachers qualified in the UK or EU. In the event that they need a visa to work in England, some agencies are adept at making a case to the Home Office to grant a visa. Teachers and schools should always check the track record of agencies in this respect as well as whether they are members of the Recruitment Employer’s Confederation, a trade body for the industry.

Vacancies in November may well have been higher than in the past few years. We have recorded more than 3,000 main scale posts notified by secondary schools across England.

Schools can register these vacancies for free at www.teachvac.co.uk – the site has a demo video of the simple registration and recording process: trainees and teachers can also use the site to tell us where they want to teach. Overseas teachers can register and use the site to monitor vacancies in areas where they are interested in teaching and there is a demo video for teachers about the site as well. At present, the site is restricted to main scale posts in the secondary sector.

Trainees using the site also have access to a monthly newsletter with information about making the best of applications, interviews, and, in coming months, the current state of the job market.

Based upon current sign up numbers we are starting to create a picture of possible job hotspots in certain subjects and as we expect to be able to offer advice on how the recruitment season will unfold between January and some point in the summer term. With schools already having a good idea of their budgets for 2015/16, recruitment is likely to start early to provide schools with the best opportunity to access the largest number of potential teachers, especially in those subjects where recruitment is likely to be the most challenging: physics, design & technology, English and business studies.

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