Harlow facing teacher shortages

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HARLOW’S schools face increasing staff shortages as the town struggles to attract more teachers into the area.

Donna Walsh, director of Burnt Mill Academy Teaching School, said: “Harlow, in particular, is considered to be a hard-to-recruit-to area and many schools are facing the prospect of teacher shortages.”

The shortages in the town come as the whole country faces an increasing recruitment problem, with the government failing to meet targets for five successive years.

According to a report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI),an independent think tank, attracting specialist teachers for maths and science has proved particularly difficult for schools in working class areas such as Harlow.

The report states that only 17% of physics teachers in towns like Harlow have a relevant degree – compared to 52% in more affluent areas.

Former education minister, David Laws now chairman of the EPI said: “Of particular concern is the unequal access to subject-qualified teachers for more disadvantaged schools outside London.”

Pay cuts and workload have also proved detrimental to bringing in new trainees.

An Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) analysis of the most recent teacher pay settlement estimates that about 60% of teachers will receive pay increases below the current 2.4% headline measure of inflation.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: “The government is simply refusing to give our teachers the pay rise that they deserve.”

Earlier this year however, Education Secretary Damian Hinds told school leaders that tackling recruitment problems was a priority. He promised to cut teachers’ workload to help make teaching a more attractive career.

A Department of Education spokeswoman stated: “There are still more than 450,000 teachers in our classrooms – 11,900 more than in 2010 – and increasing numbers are returning to the profession.

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Michael Ellis

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