By the end of 2019, schools in England will have advertised around 60,000 vacancies for teachers. After removing repeat adverts and re-advertisements, as well as schools now placing rolling adverts on their web sites to attract potential candidates, there will have been somewhere in excess of 50,000 vacancies that schools across England have sought to fill this year. The data comes for TeachVac www.teachvac.co.uk, the largest free site for both schools and teachers in England.
However, anyone seeking a classroom teacher post this year will have discovered that there are important differences between the different regions of England in terms of how easy it has been to find a teaching post.
Percentage of total vacancies for teachers January-October 2019
|Region||% of Vacancies||% of Schools|
|South East||21||17||More Vacancies|
|East England||13||12||More Vacancies|
|North West||9||12||Less Vacancies|
|South West||9||10||Less Vacancies|
|West Midlands||9||11||Less Vacancies|
|Yorkshire & Humber||7||9||Less Vacancies|
|North East||3||4||Less Vacancies
Source: TeachVac www.teachvac.co.uk (From November onwards vacancies for September 2020 start appearing, as well as a few last minute vacancies for January 2020 as a result of unforeseen events)
There is a clear difference in demand for teachers between London and the Home Counties and the rest of England. London, in particular, has five per cent more of the share of vacancies than its share of schools across England. This is despite London having an above average number of private schools compared with some other parts of England.
How much of the difference in vacancy levels is down to challenges in filling posts leading to higher re-advertisement levels is difficult to quantify without each vacancy having a unique reference number: something this blog has long advocated, and the DfE might want to consider now it has had a year of managing its own vacancy site. Incidentally, the DfE site still only contains a fraction of the number of vacancies found each day on TeachVac. Why the teacher associations haven’t protested at this waste of government money is something I haven’t been able to fathom.
The numbers in the table also suggest that the government’s policy of rewarding excellence in teacher preparation might be sound in one respect, but isn’t delivering the teachers where they are needed by the schools.
The government might need to rethink a policy that doesn’t provide enough teachers for the fastest growing parts of England. If a London Allowance is available for teachers, why is it not available for trainees? Do new graduates joining the civil service or the police suffer the same fate as trainee teachers in London? Even with bursary payments, rates are set at a national level and there is also the need for most to pay tuition fees while in training as a teacher.