Teacher vacancies have doubled in the past two years, according to new official data for England, while more than 40,000 teachers left their jobs in the last year.
Figures published by the Government on Thursday also showed the number of teacher vacancies increased from 1,100 in November 2020 to 2,300 in November 2022.
The number of temporarily filled teacher posts also increased from 1,800 in November 2020 to 3,000 in November 2022.
— National Foundation for Educational Research (@TheNFER) June 8, 2023
The data, largely drawn from the school workforce census and which includes only state-funded schools, showed the number of teachers rose by less than 1% in the last year to 468,400.
Around 44,000 teachers left the state sector in 2021/22, a rise of 7,800 compared with the previous year and is the highest rate since 2017/18.
The average teacher salary in England is now £41,604, according to the figures.
The number of teaching assistants rose to 281,100 – an increase of 5,300 since last year.
The data shows that pupil-teacher ratios have remained stable, with 20.7 pupils for every one nursery and primary school teacher in 2022/23.
Jack Worth, from the National Foundation for Educational Research, said: “It is hugely concerning that 40,000 working-age teachers left the profession last year, the highest level since records began in 2010.
“While fewer teachers retired, the overall picture is that teacher leaving rates rose in 2022 to just above the pre-pandemic level amid a competitive wider labour market.
“Addressing teacher retention should be at the heart of dealing with the teacher supply challenge, with further policy action needed to reduce teacher workload and increase the competitiveness of teacher pay.”
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that the figures for teacher vacancies were “only the tip of the iceberg”.
“What we hear is that it is a constant struggle to fill vacancies which often requires readvertising for posts, filling gaps with supply staff, and using non-subject specialists to teach classes.
“All of this adds to the workload and pressure on school and college leaders, as well as existing staff, and it puts at risk educational provision for children.
"…this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of a recruitment and retention crisis which is affecting virtually every school and college in the country."
— ASCL (@ASCL_UK) June 8, 2023
“The reason for this desperate state of affairs is the fact that the government has implemented years of real-terms pay cuts, inadequate funding levels, and an eye-watering system of performance tables and Ofsted inspections, all of which is deterring recruits and driving out teachers.
“We cannot go on like this.”
The Department for Education pointed to entrants figures showing that 48,000 teachers joined English schools in 2022/23, an increase of 4,000 compared with the previous year.
The data also shows there are 27,000 more teachers in English schools since 2010, with the Government stressing efforts to boost retention and recruitment including last October’s investment in teacher training scholarships and bursaries.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “A great education does not happen by chance, and brilliant teachers shape children’s lives every day.
“In today’s competitive job market, it is fantastic to see so many people choosing a rewarding teaching career, with a record number of teachers now working in our schools.
“We know there is more to do, which is why we have generous bursaries to attract new trainees to teach priority subjects and (are) focusing on supporting new teachers from the very start of their journey with free, high-quality, ongoing professional development.”
But Ian Hartwright, head of policy at the National Association of Head Teachers, accused ministers of being “in denial”.
“No matter how government tries to spin it, today’s data shows that it is in denial over its failure to tackle the longstanding recruitment and retention crisis in teaching,” he said.
“Missed recruitment targets have been compounded by a miserable failure to stem the tide of those leaving the profession.
“More than a decade of real-terms cuts to pay, accompanied by crushing workload and the impact of high stakes inspection and accountability measures that drive ill-health, mean that teachers and leaders continue to walk away from an education system where funding is still below 2010 levels in real terms.
“Without urgent action, more education professionals will sadly decide that what should be a rewarding career is not for them, and pupils’ education and life chances will inevitably suffer.”
Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said that the figures were “yet more evidence that this incompetent Conservative government has created the perfect storm in recruitment and retention of teachers”.