Havering head warns teacher shortage may hit standards

Head teacher Paul Ward say standards in schools could fall if recruiting teachers continue to be so

Head teacher Paul Ward say standards in schools could fall if recruiting teachers continue to be so difficult - Credit: EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

School standards will drop if difficulty recruiting teachers continues, a headteacher has warned.

Paul Ward, headteacher at Redden Court School, Cotswold Road, Harold Wood, said recruiting teaching staff is becoming very difficult across all subjects.

“Before, we used to have 40 to 50 applications to a post, but now it is down to just four or five,” he said.

Mr Ward said he heard some of the borough’s schools had been forced to recruit teachers with the minimum qualification of an A-level in their subject area – but said this is not something Redden Court has done.

He told the Recorder: “We are going to see a drop of standards and of results if we can’t recruit properly.”

Mr Ward believes the increasing pressure on staff to hit targets and improve the school’s ranking in league tables is deterring potential recruits and causing others to leave the profession.

“Attracting young teachers is becoming increasingly difficult – there is not the same level of respect that teaching had in the past.

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“It’s too expensive for them [young teachers] to live here,” he explained, adding London starting salaries did not allow them to access the property ladder.

Last week the National Audit Office published a report warning an increasing number of teachers are leaving the profession.

The report stated that the government has also missed its recruiting target for the past four years and that between 2011 and 2014 the number of teachers leaving the profession had increased by 11 per cent.

Havering National Union of Teachers (NUT) secretary Ray Waxler described the situation as “dire”.

He said: “Last year it was difficult but this year will be even more so,”

According to Havering Jobs’ website, there are 11 vacancies for primary school teachers in the borough, while the borough’s secondary schools’ websites are advertising 15 teaching vacancies in key subjects.