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Teacher recruitment and retention crisis

Mr Grady has written to Rugby and Bulkington MP, Mark Pawsey, to raise concerns and encourages parents to also contact their local MP. 

I sent this letter today to Mark Pawsey, our local MP to raise my concerns around the teacher recruitment and retention crisis, affecting not only our school, but all schools locally.

As parents, I encourage you to send the same to your local MP, the link to find them is here.

Mr Grady

Dear Mark,

I do hope you are well.

I am writing to you to ask for your help in addressing the teacher recruitment and retention crisis which is affecting my school and many others and which is at the heart of the industrial dispute that is currently taking place.

Teacher pay has fallen by 23% in real terms against Retail Price Index inflation since 2010. The pay award in the current academic year of 5% for most teachers is again significantly below inflation and follows a pay freeze the previous year.

Combined with workload pressures, which are driven by the underfunding of schools and a punitive inspection and school performance system, this situation is making it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain teachers.

Recruitment to teacher training has failed to meet government targets for many years. In 2022, it was especially poor with the number of trainees recruited failing to meet targets in 13 out of 17 secondary subjects as well as primary.

In addition, school workforce statistics show that 31% of teachers then leave teaching within five years of qualifying, and 40% leave within 10 years.

As a result of these pressures, a survey last summer by the Association of School and College Leaders of 766 state-sector schools and colleges in England found:

  • 95% have been experiencing difficulty in recruiting teachers, with 43% saying it is ‘severe’.
  • 72% of these are using supply staff to cover for vacancies; 69% are using non-subject specialists to teach classes; and 31% said pupils were having to be taught in larger classes.
  • Physics was the most commonly cited subject where recruitment was difficult, followed by maths, design and technology, chemistry and computing.

Furthermore, I am concerned that the Education Secretary’s remit letter to the school teachers’ pay review body over next year’s pay award advises that it is particularly important to have regard to the government’s inflation target – which at 2% would represent another below-inflation pay award. This would exacerbate teacher shortages and industrial conflict.

I am appealing to you to intervene on behalf of schools and families to emphasise to the government the importance of urgent action to address teacher shortages and resolve the industrial dispute. If schools do not have the teachers they need then educational provision and standards are at risk.

Yours sincerely

Mark Grady
Head Teacher
Rugby High School

Peter Reaney
Chair of Trustees
Rugby High School