A leading recruitment agency has warned that the teacher shortage crisis is "reaching a critical level".
Latest figures from UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) have revealed that acceptances to teacher training courses have plummeted by seven per cent this year.
This year is the fifth consecutive year where government targets for teacher training have been missed, with only 26,000 people being accepted on to teacher training courses for 2016 and 2017.
Baljinder Kuller, managing director of the online supply teacher portal, The Supply Register, said: “The current UK teacher recruitment crisis is now reaching a critical level. As it stands, because of the extremely high turnover in the profession, schools in England need to recruit about 30,000 new teachers every year to stand still.”
“Because of the challenges that the education sector is currently facing in terms of retention, it is crucial that we pipeline future talent or face the very real risk of being unable to offer pupils the education they are entitled to and deserve.
“Schools are running out of options. At this year’s annual conference of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the idea was floated that schools could close early two days a week to help manage resources – this is obviously not ideal.”
These figures come at a time when schools across the country are battling stifling funding cuts, and are expected to save £3bn by 2020.
This, combined with falling numbers of teacher training applications is putting a huge amount of pressure on schools, and Baljinder is calling on the sector as a whole to take action to protect the teaching workforce.
He said: “Until we fix our talent pipelines, government, trade bodies, multi-trust academies and individual schools must work together to ensure that the valuable teaching talent, not least supply, is not lost in the face of excessive workloads and falling take-home pay due to growing recruitment agency fees.”
“At a time when pupil numbers in England are predicted to rise by 8 per cent over the next five years while budgets are simultaneously cut, it is now more important than ever that we support our existing teachers and offer them a fair deal in terms of remuneration.”