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School spending on supply teachers soars to £1.3bn – a rise of more than a quarter over two years – as heads try to plug gaps in recruitment crisis

Hulme_bridge.jpgAs schools prepare to break up for the Christmas holidays, new analysis by the Labour Party reveals the impact of the chronic shortages of teachers up and down the country:

·         New official figures published this week reveal that the amount spent on supply teachers by schools continues to soar. The average spend by academies and Free Schools alone has risen by 42 per cent in one year.

·         New analysis shows that the overall spend by schools on supply teachers has rocketed by nearly £300 million over two years – a rise of more than one quarter – and now stands at £1.3 billion.

·         This significant increase in the cost of supply teachers is a result of schools trying to plug the gaps caused by the Tories’ failure to recruit enough trainee teachers – this year the Government missed their target for teacher recruitment for the fourth year in a row.

·         At the same time, record numbers of teachers are quitting the profession – 50,000 this year, more than actually entered the profession.

Shadow Education Secretary, Lucy Powell MP, said:

“With chronic shortages of teachers in our schools, this Government is risking the education of the next generation. Ministers have mishandled teacher training, putting applicants off and constantly talked down the profession, causing thousands of teachers to quit. As a result, half of all schools had unfilled positions at the start of this year and are being forced to turn to unqualified staff, temporary supply teachers, non-specialists, and larger class sizes to try to plug the gaps.

“Nothing is more important for raising standards and improving social mobility than ensuring there are excellent teachers in every school. The Government urgently needs to get a grip on this problem, which is affecting the education of our children, and start to take it seriously.”

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