to think we're heading for another teacher recruitment crisis?

(143 Posts)
KeepCalmAndLOLKittens Tue 24-Jun-14 20:15:54

I don't deny that I'm speaking from purely personal experience here, but after a brief increase in the number of teachers joining the profession during the recession, I am seeing evidence of another shortage.

I thought I'd have difficulty getting back into FT work at the top of the upper pay scale, but not only was I offered a post with protected pay; shortly afterwards I was asked to fill another by a local school.

My current post is proving difficult to appoint. Only one candidate came to interview and had previously been unsuccessful. It has been readvertised with very little interest. This is a good school; a pleasant working environment in a large town, accessible from a major city.

Angered by the latest bullshit plans to bring retired engineers and mathematicians into the profession I'm considering leaving altogether. I just searched my local newspaper's job site and found that I could earn nearly as much working a HGV driver. Not to dismiss the responsibility and skill that driving a HGV demands, it does make me wonder why I kill myself to try to achieve targets I know to be impossible while managing behaviour of the more challenging kids and having to be constantly prepared for Ofsted scrutiny.

What is to be done to address this when teachers are vilified for their holidays, for enforcing dress code, for being seen to impose fines for term time holidays and for just not being superhuman enough? Where will the teachers come from?

monkeymamma Tue 24-Jun-14 20:28:19

I'm preparing for a flaming here, but I think there will always be plenty of people wanting to be teachers. There is no other job with comparable holidays. Yes, I'm aware those holidays are often spent doing ancillary work, as are weekends... Just like most other non-manual roles within public and private sectors. Again, if you are in a skilled/non-manual role you will probably be asked to meet targets, many of which will seem impossible. Especially in the commercial sectors. I have also got to say that teaching actually is reasonably well-paid for the level of qualification required. YA also B extremely U to predict a shortage based on anecdotal evidence and no data...

maddy68 Tue 24-Jun-14 20:32:09

I think you're right. That's why the government are coming up with stupid schemes such as this

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/10918509/Tory-plans-for-retired-pensioners-to-retrain-as-teachers.html

monkeymamma Tue 24-Jun-14 20:34:54

I also think it's one of the few jobs that fits in relatively well with family life. I'm sure many teachers will disagree but again I'm comparing it to other skilled/non-manual roles which generally keep you at the office quite a bit later. Teachers finish at 3.30. Yes! I hear you cry. But there is so much more to do (marking, preparation, lesson plans, meetings...) that we never leave then. We have hours more work to do! Well so do your comrades working in offices, but they start the 'extra' work at 5.30 or later. Put it this way, all my friends and relatives who are teachers are shocked when they call me at say 8pm and I'm just sitting down too dinner, but in most private sector roles that's nothing unusual and my pals who work in office type jobs would see this as normal. The only people I know who sit down for tea with their kids at 6pm are teachers (or stay at homers, part time, work from home etc).

AndreasVesalius Tue 24-Jun-14 20:40:14

We recently advertised a mainscale Geography post and got no applicants. A quick ring around the universities revealed that every single student in the area had got a job already.

5 years ago a History post in our school attracted 80 applicants. Back in Feb we had 7 applicants and 2 of those were not History graduates.

Monkey I don't start my work at 3:30. That's when I stop actual contracted teaching. I then have revision classes, Controlled Assessment catch-up, homework club, detentions, meetings, twilights, parental meetings etc. Then I come home, have my tea and start work again.

lizzzyyliveson Tue 24-Jun-14 20:40:45

What are you talking about monkeymamma? Teachers bring home marking/planning and report writing and they do it in the evening. Teachers who ring you at 8pm are probably having a break from their evening work.

KeepCalmAndLOLKittens Tue 24-Jun-14 20:42:26

That's the problem with my job and why I have been in two minds about going FT - I have zero flexibility in the 39 weeks of term time and can't do anything wrt school runs. I leave too early and certainly can't be seen to finish before 4:15, and even then it's because I need to collect DS from nursery by 5. The holidays are the strongest argument in favour of me staying I'm afraid. I appreciate that I'm very lucky not to need holiday childcare except for odd days to do planning and assessment which will have to be covered by childcare.

I was certainly surprised to see I could earn nearly as much as a haulier.

Silvercatowner Tue 24-Jun-14 20:43:30

We're not heading for one, we are in one. The situation is absolutely dire here in the SE.

Drumsticks99 Tue 24-Jun-14 20:44:06

Monkey - your teacher friends must be very lucky. My DH is a teacher and he leaves at 6.30am and rarely gets home before 7pm.

There are perks but also major disadvantages. He can never have time off during term time meaning he misses stag dos, weddings, funerals ( only allowed off for direct family) and our holidays are bloody extortionate despite not having school aged kids.

The stress is huge.

No way I'd swap with him.

balia Tue 24-Jun-14 20:48:58

Where will the teachers come from?

Anywhere. That's why Gove gave the go-ahead for free schools and academies to hire unqualified staff. 13% of teaching staff in free schools don't have Qualified Teacher Status (in state schools it is 3.8%). Maybe there will be plenty of people wanting to be teachers, but suitably qualified and trained ones? Not so much.

chosenone Tue 24-Jun-14 20:51:43

Yes but monkey this thread isn't about working conditions etc..thats been done to death tbh. Its about an impending shortage and I agree. I teach in a leafy rural school which is over subscribed and results are well above average. We gave struggled to recruit some key teaching roles recently; including head of humanities, RE, and senco ! All with attractive salaries. Two are being re advertised. We have had no luck appointing mat leave/long term sick cover so these are being done by unqualified staff.
If we are struggling, surely tough inner city schools are struggling. Retention of teachers is not good.

KeepCalmAndLOLKittens Tue 24-Jun-14 20:52:55

I noticed that a fairly local school is advertising for English and maths mentors to work with small groups. Tutors in other words. For up to £10/hr. As. If.

I'm also confused about where we'll get social workers from

There are always posts available in our LA and I looked into training and it's £5800 per year for fees and the bursary is only £3600 - leaving individuals to pay £3000 in fees over the two years, plus support themselves on no money as it's all placement so you can't have a job while training.

Peppageorge Tue 24-Jun-14 20:55:51

We are in one now. At my University we are short of trainee teachers for this September for practically every single subject - bar a couple. This is being replicated across all Higher Ed institutions. Reasons for this? Constant government interference in education, £9,000 to train, long, long hours and we are coming out of a recession so more private sector jobs with substantially higher incomes. I think I have heard it all now though with Gove's latest harebrained idea of recruiting pensioners into the profession!

sleepdodger Tue 24-Jun-14 20:56:32

Interesting
I have ALOT if teacher friends
Some v experienced some brand new
All have recently changed jobs
All walked straight Into jobs into schools in areas they wanted and hours they wanted
That seems v different to their various positions 5/10 years ago
Also- to consider- very few pt time roles in commercial sector simply enable you to scale down hours and maintain salary
My pt friends recognise that
Also- whilst hols a perk the therefore not paying for childcare in said hols also essentially boosts wages!
All jobs are tough, all have difficult changes to them (personally just been asked to resign my contract or out in 12 weeks) but its surely a case of weigh up and decide if right for you
And stay or go...

cansu Tue 24-Jun-14 21:00:37

perhaps shouldnt post on this but.. have just switched on laptop about to post about my shit work life balance and yes I am a teacher. My day started at 5.30 to get kids ready and I didnt get in the door until 7pm today. I am on my knees. I have reams of stuff to do outside of preparing and delivering my lessons. I am either a shit teacher or teaching is more demanding than many realise. I have had only 15 mins break today when I ate my sandwich. I have just had a little cry in the bath. Make what you will of my contribution. I have been teaching for sixteen years and am a generally calm and sensible person.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 24-Jun-14 21:03:09

All the teachers you know walking straight into jobs rather supports the idea that there are shortages in at least some areas, surely? If I could find a half way decent Science teacher available I would snap them up. As it is, we are likely to start next year understaffed. Despite the glorious working conditions.

MiaowTheCat Tue 24-Jun-14 21:08:31

It's what Gove and his buddies want - they don't want the experienced, high up on what remains of the pay scales teachers who've been around long enough to know that the bullshit and fads come round in a cycle and to be skeptical about it wanting stuff that actually works for their kids and their school. They want teaching to be something you do for a few years till it burns you out - get you out of the profession and gone (onto what - they don't care) before you get older, wiser and more expensive and wheel in the next batch of warm bodies they can juice a few years out of before the cycle begins again.

Qualifications optional - it's a warm body in front of the class they want because Gove seriously does buy into the "all kids are wonderful and placid and want to be sit there meekly reciting the names of the kings and queens of England all day and that everyone can do it" idea that anyone who's spent a nanosecond in a school in a deprived area with a myriad of social problems crossing over from the outside environment into the school classroom knows is absolutely bonkers.

I'm out of it at the moment - doubtful I'll go back with how things currently are.

angstridden2 Tue 24-Jun-14 21:08:36

If teaching is so easy and the working hours and conditions so great, why are so many young teachers leaving within 5 years (can't remember the exact figure but it's 40/50% I believe). People do not walk out of reasonably paid jobs unless they just can't stand it any more. I work in a school and most of the young teachers who teach subjects with a heavy mark load like English and History are on their knees now.

revealall Tue 24-Jun-14 21:13:38

Ok but doing a job for 10 years or so is not the same as attracting new blood in. Very different issues.

Their are massive differences between primary ,secondary,special schools, state and private. It's not an easy job but I think alot of teachers go into it expecting to pick up their pension from it and stay in longer than they should.

elvenbread Tue 24-Jun-14 21:14:44

Monkeymamma. I've just finished my days work if that makes you feel any better and I will be in work again by 7am tomorrow morning and everyday till the end of term.
Today my day consisted of:
Writing and typing resources.
Working out a new app we need to use.
Printing.
Photocopying.
Writing up teams for sports day.
Phoning the Ict tech about a faulty screen.
Phoning a parent about an issue yesterday.
Sending out a text to remind parents about the fayre.
Meeting about a challenging pupil.

That was before work started.

I then taught 5 lessons, marked 125 books, did an assembly, did playground duty, ran my afterschool sport club, proof read 10 reports, filed my assessments, changed a lesson for tomorrow, met a colleague about next year, wrote my to do list for tomorrow, started resources for tomorrow, downloaded a video we made today and edited it, tidied my classroom, sorted the book returns in our library, did an audit of resources for my subject (overdue by several days!) And rang another parent to say how well her child was doing after a difficult time for her.

Tomorrow will be similar, so will the next day and the next. That's on top of all the general behaviour issues, squabbles, kids having to stay in to finish work etc.

monkeymamma Tue 24-Jun-14 21:42:36

Thanks for the breakdown elven, I could perhaps post you a list of all the tedious difficult and stressful things I've done today in my job... But I'm pretty sure you would find it fairly tedious :-)
For the record, I'm not saying teachers don't work bloody hard. They do. But so do most people in equivalent skilled roles.
I'm loving all the posts about 'some days I don't get in till 7pm...' That's pretty good going compared to private sector/commercial roles. I might start early in my job and be expected to do an evening or weekend event, getting home at 1am blah blah but that's life. If you want to do a satisfying role requiring skill and intelligence then sometimes it's challenging. Sometimes it's bloody hard work. But there we are... And if teaching is so awful why are you all doing it? Hmm? Cos it's satisfying and enriching and you know you're doing good. In that case, great! Like I say, satisfying and enriching roles usually require a lot of input.
And to the poster who said working conditions has been done to death... Fine. Let's stick to the main question, are we facing a shortage or not? Cos I think actual data would be more conclusive than 'well my friend said...' Or 'when we advertised x role at my school...' I eagerly await said data.

manicinsomniac Tue 24-Jun-14 22:01:54

Interesting. We have had very few applicants for a couple of jobs advertised recently but I assumed that's because we're private (have to give a term's notice so September starts almost impossible now for those currently in jobs). Maybe that's not the reason though. When I first qualified (2006) there were 200+ applicants for primary jobs in the North East. Can it really have dropped off so much??

monkey - I actually completely agree with you about teaching being a great family job with a good work-life balance and brilliant holidays. But you aren't doing yourself any favours going on about the short hours. It's a stereotype. I'm a teacher and on a Wednesday I am contracted on site till 9pm, on a Friday it's 11pm and I teach Saturday mornings too. Our ordinary school day finishes at 5pm not 3.30 (for 7 - 13 year olds so not secondary). You can't generalise about 3.30 finishes.

chosenone Tue 24-Jun-14 22:11:34
monkeymamma Tue 24-Jun-14 22:13:33

Thanks, manic. But I haven't gone on about short hours - I don't think the hours are short, just a lot more comparable to other jobs in a similar area of pay and qualification level than many teachers like to admit. I also wanted to make the point that while teaching finishes at 3.30 but other associated work goes on much longer, so does it in many other jobs, ie I may be contracted to work until 5.30 but there is still lots to do beyond that. Also btw the fact you're contracted to work the late hours you describe is surely specific to working for a private school. I don't know that it's common for teachers to be contracted to stay on site until 11pm.

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