Teacher recruitment hitting disadvantaged schools hardest

Teachers in the most deprived state schools are less likely to report that their school department was well-staffed with qualified teachers and less confident that current job vacancies would be filled.

New research for the Sutton Trust surveyed 3,000 primary and secondary school teachers through Teacher Tapp, an app that asks teachers in state and independent schools three questions a day. They were asked a series of questions about how recruitment difficulties and teacher shortages affect their school.

It found that 85 per cent of teachers in the most deprived state schools think that recruitment issues were affecting the quality of education their school was providing, compared to 55 per cent of teachers in independent secondary schools, and 76 per cent in the most affluent state schools.
Additionally, 58 per cent of teachers in disadvantaged schools said they were uncertain about their school’s ability to find suitable teachers, compared to 35 per cent of teachers in state secondary schools with the lowest number of disadvantaged pupils and just 11 per cent in the independent sector.

Unfortunately, as a result of this, 29 per cent of teachers in the most disadvantaged schools expect to appoint teachers who aren’t well matched to the vacancies they have, with a further 25 per cent said they anticipated serious recruitment difficulties or were certain they will end up having to use teachers who are not suitably qualified, or supply teachers.

The research also looked at the incentives that would lead teachers to seriously consider applying to teach at disadvantaged schools. While one in five teachers said that nothing would persuade them to apply for a job at a low-performing local school, 54 per cent said they would if they could see a clearly enforced and effective behaviour policy.

A further 49 per cent also said they would be attracted by a substantial promotion – likely to cost the school around £5,000. A similar proportion (48 per cent) said they would be persuaded by a guaranteed reduction in teaching timetable of around 25 per cent – for a classroom teacher this is likely to cost around £10,000.

Sir Peter Lampl, founder and executive chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “Recruiting and retaining top-quality teachers is the biggest challenge our schools face. And, as our research shows, it is disadvantaged schools that are most affected by the lack of high-quality teachers. In order to address this problem we would like to see more schools using their Pupil Premium to recruit and retain good teachers. There should also be increased effort to address behaviour concerns.  This is a major obstacle to recruiting good teachers to disadvantaged schools.”

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