National Education union protesters marching in Westminster

Teacher vacancies in London: funding frustration and pay problems

Teacher vacancies have seen a sharp spike across London’s schools over the last year, according to data from the Department for Education.

Some boroughs have seen their vacancies almost sextuple between 2022 and 2023, and most others have seen this trend increase over time.

This comes after the National Education Union and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) coordinated industrial action by teachers across the UK over pay and working conditions complaints earlier this year.

NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said: “This is yet further damning evidence of a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention caused by the Government’s failure to invest in the teaching profession.

“Experienced teachers and headteachers are leaving prematurely, or seriously considering doing and fewer graduates are choosing to come into teaching.”

These findings match NASUWT research, which found that two-thirds of teachers in the UK are seriously considering leaving their jobs.

The data also showed teachers across London have only received an average pay increase of £6,146.80 over the last 12 years.

Roach added: “Surging levels of workload, excessive working hours and dwindling real-terms pay has made the job increasingly unappealing.

“In the face of the overwhelming and growing evidence of the problem, the Government must face up to the scale of the crisis it has created.”

Another observable pattern is that boroughs with the highest student-teacher ratios also receive the least funding per pupil.

Across the observed metrics, Croydon stood out as the poorest performing borough overall, likely due to the economic difficulties the borough has faced over the last ten years.

Croydon Council has declined to comment.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “There are now record numbers of teachers in our schools, up by 27,000 since 2010 which has been achieved through a range of initiatives to attract the best candidates into teaching, including tax free bursaries and scholarships worth up to £30,000.

“Teachers will get a 6.5% pay award beginning in September and starting salaries are now at least £30,000, which recognises the hard work of teachers and leaders.

“School funding is rising by over £3.9 billion this year compared to 2022-23, reaching the highest level in history, in real terms per pupil, by 2024-25.”

Image credit: Peter McNamara

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