MP slams government over missed targets as schools struggle to recruit teachers

Ashfield MP Gloria de Piero was in her office when the incident took place - she offered thoughts to the injured police officer.
Ashfield MP Gloria de Piero was in her office when the incident took place - she offered thoughts to the injured police officer.

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has slammed the government for failing to meet secondary school teacher recruitment targets for the last four years.

The answer to a parliamentary written question submitted by the MP shows that thousands fewer teachers have been trained than needed since 2013/14.

Ms De Piero said: “It is extremely worrying to see that the Government has failed to recruit enough teachers for several years.”

She said the effects of the failure to train enough teachers are already being felt by some schools in Ashfield which are struggling to recruit the staff they need.

This issue has repeatedly been raised by headteachers at secondary schools in the district.

Simon Taylor, principal at Kirkby College, has backed the MP

He said both recruitment and retention of teachers were problems he has to deal with.

He blamed the huge workload and high stress caused by the curriculum reform brought in by former Education Secretary Michael Gove and the public sector pay freeze, which has been a real terms cut to teachers’ pay.

Mr Taylor said: “Keeping hold of good staff is costing a fortune as they are poached and offered the world elsewhere.

“I currently have no vacancies but it’s at huge cost both financially and in time and effort.

“I haven’t actually recruited through a full and proper process for a long time: it’s a waste of time.

“Adverts in core subjects do not attract applicants so are a waste of money.

“The bottom line is we have been and continue to be expected to do far too much with limited resource and agreement, so individuals are either leaving the profession or not choosing to go into it.”

According to the Government’s own data, in 2016/17, only 89 per cent of the recruitment target was achieved, missing the 17,687 target by nearly 2,000 teachers.

In 2015/16, just 82 per cent of the target was achieved, missing the 18,541 target by a huge 3,358.

The targets were also missed in the previous two years – by six per cent in 2014/15 and by two per cent in 2013/14 – but these figures did not include the Teach First data that is now counted.