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TEACHER numbers have fallen by over 5,000 — the first drop in six years, official figures released yesterday show.
The Department for Education stats show that the number of full-time equivalent teachers in England’s state schools was 451,900 in November, down from 457,200 the year before.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said the “appalling” drop was a result of the Tory government’s “failure to give hard-working teachers the support they need.”
She said: “Ministers have admitted that their policies have left teachers thousands of pounds worse off in real terms, yet teachers’ workloads continue to skyrocket, driving teachers out of our classrooms.
“As vacancies continue to rise, schools will be left with no choice but spending more and more on supply agencies, which are costing schools hundreds of millions of pounds a year because of this government’s failure to recruit the teachers we need."
Ms Rayner said the government must act urgently to end the crisis they created in teacher recruitment and retention.
Secondary schools had 1.9 per cent fewer teachers despite the number of pupils being expected to rise until 2025.
National Education Union (NEU) joint general secretary Mary Bousted said the statistics “will make grim reading” for Education Secretary Damian Hinds.
“We are losing teachers too quickly, undoubtedly because the government is burning them out with an excessive workload and they can earn more and have a better work-life balance in another profession,” she said.
“With so many teachers leaving the profession early we are left with a less experienced workforce which has an impact on pupils’ learning and makes recruitment into school leadership posts more difficult in the future.”
Ms Bousted said the government must fully fund a pay increase for all teachers. Teachers’ pay rose only 0.78 per cent on average over the last year.
The teacher vacancy rate for all state-funded schools saw a slight rise in the number of vacant posts from 920 in 2016 to 940 in November 2017 when the census is taken.
The figures also show that the number of temporarily filled posts has dropped slightly from 3,280 posts in 2016 to 3,050 in 2017.
In total, the figures show there were 3,990 posts which were vacant or temporarily filled at the time.
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