Schools turn attention overseas as 50,000 teachers leave profession

The 49,120 teachers that left between November 2013 and November 2014 represent the largest number to quit in one year since records began. Paired with a shortfall in teacher training applications, many schools are struggling to fill key positions.

Alongside recruitment issues, pupil numbers are also steadily increasing, with a projected 582,000 more pupils expected by 2020. To try and combat this problem, many schools are now looking at mass recruitment drives overseas.

Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell said: “I don’t blame schools for looking abroad. For years, this government chose to ignore the growing problem with teacher supply, continuing instead to botch recruitment and do down the profession at every opportunity.

“As a result, schools are now struggling against falling applications and the highest number of teachers quitting the profession on record. The Tories’ failure to take this problem seriously is threatening standards in our schools and damaging the education of our children – it cannot go on.”

Hourglass Education recruitment agency recently recruited 43 Jamaican teachers for an academy trust in Hayes, west London, in one trip to the country, with a potential 21 more to follow.

Geoff Brown, former head teacher and director of Hourglass Education, said: “Endless schools are advertising and not getting any applicants whatsoever. There are two options: you go down the age-old route of hiring anyone who is warm and breathing, or – the more savvy – go overseas. Increasingly, schools are doing that. The prize places are Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Jamaica.”

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