John Howson

Professor John Howson is an authority on the labour market for teachers. Located in Oxford, England he is a visiting professor at Oxford Brookes university.

John uses this web site for columns and articles he writes so that they can be easily accessed by a wider audience.

More information can be found at

John also has expertise in the UK justice system and has been a member of the Liberal Democrats since the Party was formed, and a member of the Liberal Party before that date.

He is chairman of TeachVac the free job matching site for schools, teachers, trainees and those seeking to return to  teaching. John has a number of other interests including writing poetry from time to time.

Since May 2013 he has also been a County Councillor in Oxfordshire.


24 thoughts on “John Howson

  1. Dear Prof Howson, may I thank you for the time and effort you have spent on bringing clarity to the state of teacher training! Your work is invaluable and I hope will also be recognised by the Education Select Committee later this week. Hopefully your monitoring of this situation will add to the pressure which DfE and NCTL should be feeling to produce more carefully considered targets in all modes of ITT.

  2. Professor Howson, thank you so much for your observation on Empowering Learning’s article “Why are teachers working as cleaners?” in The Guardian last week. I will contact the NCTL to follow up your suggestion. If you are able to recommend a friendly contact there, I would be very grateful.

  3. Dear John, Wondering if you know the percentage of youngsters going into Grammar Schools in Kent? Also if you know anyone who might be able to provide me with figures going back to the 60s on youngsters attending grammar schools in all UK LEAs? Cheers – Dick Powell

  4. Pingback: Educate Nigeria | Without drastic action, heads will have to employ unqualified staff – or drop subjects

  5. I am an unqualified teacher working in an Academy. I have been working as an ‘instructor’ and receiving instructor pay, for about 4 years. I have applied for Teacher training courses twice before. Each time I applied they were willing to offer me a place on their programme, teaching Design and Technology. The first time I applied I did not have the required grades in English and Maths as I had left school in 1981, at that time they were CSE’s. So I set about completing an English GCSE and a Maths GCSE at my school. I was successful in both and so I applied again, in 2014. Again, they offered me a place and I accepted but I had to pass the Literacy and Numeracy tests. I passed the literacy test first time but I failed the maths test, by “1 point”. I have just turned 50. I potentially have to wait another 2 years before I can apply again and possibly not be offered a place, although on the SCITT programme they were willing to short list me and send me through, if I passed the Maths test. Maths has always been a weakness of mine and was so pleased when I did actually only fail on 1 point and saw this as a big acheivement, strangely but at the same time I was devastated because teaching is something I absolutely love and think I am quite good at. I found myself being a single parent at 31, with 3 boys. I was utterly determined I would do my best, not only to be a role model to my children but to develop a career that would enable me to support my children and not rely on the state. I completed my BA hons Degree in Art and Design in 2003 and I am here in 2015 still utterly determined to have a teaching career. I still cannot believe that failing a Maths test, by 1 point, has crushed my dreams and left me totally disillusioned with the whole thing. I just wanted to tell you my story and that there are so many people in my situation: good teachers who love what they do. Thankyou. Maxine

    • Maxine,

      I understand the position you are in and have rethought my support for skills tests being taken pre-entry. If they were post-entry many providers would have helped with maths coaching on the parts you find challenging. since we are critically short of D&T teachers perhaps someone -DATA for instance – could set up support to help people like yourself become teachers. as I failed English 6 times in my youth, there is a strong possibility I wouldn’t now be let into the teaching profession, so I do understand where you are coming from, but a minimum standard in both numeracy and literacy should be a given for all teachers when QTS allows you to teach anything to anybody.

      John Howson

    • Maxime,

      see following offer


      You may remember kindly commenting on an article about Empowering Learning in The Guardian a couple of years ago.
      We are now in our 5th year of placing colleagues with two years teaching experience into paid teaching posts whilst they complete the Assessment Only Route to QTS via Sunderland University.
      If Maxine would like to contact us via the Empowering Learning website we would be happy to help.
      Thank you again for your support
      Lynne Hannigan

  6. I am a teacher in the US and the more I find teachers’ blogs from other English speaking countries the more it looks the same. We are suffering a teacher shortage as well – says a 10 year teaching veteran who is leaving the profession at the end of the year… Wonderful blog. I look forward to reading more.

  7. Hello John have not seen or spoken to you since about 1965-66 at TCS. I have followed your blog. Just keep at the politicians they are avoiding the reality regarding teacher numbers. Hopefully, they will see the light (I remain an optimist)

    • Frank,

      Glad to hear from you. that was a long time ago at TCS.
      I recall joining the staff in 1971 to replace X on the timetable and becoming head of geography a term and a half later. I wonder if some schools are heading back to that sort of level these days.


      • I am a governor at a secondary county school in Loughton Essex. The cost of housing in the area is prohibitive to recruiting good staff; particularly as nearby inner london schools can offer substantially larger salaries. I look forward to Nicky Morgan’s explanation as to how we can staff all the schools adequately. Seems teaching is an area outside the “market”

  8. John. Just casually browsing before going to bed and I stumble across this! I trust you are well and you certainly seem to be active. I note the message from Frank S above, a chum at TCS back in the 60’s. You and I will recall the days in the 50’s at Sunday School as well as post TCS when we were at LSE, with Peter too of course. I’m now a retired FCA living here in Northumberland. Best Wishes to you and to Peter of course.

    • Ian,
      Thank you for your best wishes,
      As it happens I shall be seeing Peter later today in his new home in Wiltshire.
      I do indeed recall St Mark’s and TCS and as you say Frank S has popped up on this blog.
      As you will have seen I am still interested in education and TeachVac has shown the government how disruptive new technology can be by offering a free recruitment service.
      Interesting times.

    • Frank – No never, I was last in Tottenham about two years ago for a game at WHL. It looked a very different place from the days at TCS. I did stroll up to the buildings at Selby Road; it all looked very sad I thought. Better stop this or PH will think we’re trying to take a place on his blog!

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