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The leaky pipeline


Today (24 November 2017), NAHT reveals the findings from its annual recruitment survey. 

This year’s survey of more than 800 school leaders finds that, for the fourth consecutive year, recruitment in schools is a significant problem.


Key findings from our survey 

  • For the fourth consecutive year, school leaders report there is a difficulty in recruiting across all roles, from teachers to senior leaders. A very high proportion (81 per cent) of teaching vacancies were difficult to fill, 63 per cent were recruited with a struggle and 18 per cent failed to recruit  

  • In the last year, two-thirds (66 per cent) of school leaders said they were aware that some of their staff left the teaching profession for reasons other than retirement. The top two reasons cited were workload (84 per cent of respondents) and work-life balance (83 per cent of respondents)

  • Budget pressures have an ever-increasing impact year on year, with the number of respondents blaming them for their failure to recruit to teaching roles rising from nine per cent in 2014 to 33 per cent this year

  • There's also an issue at senior leadership level; this year, respondents reported a rise in the failure to recruit to deputy/vice principal roles and assistant head/principal roles since 2016 (up one percentage point and nine percentage points respectively) 
  • There are still huge difficulties in recruitment for the middle leadership roles in schools. For posts carrying a teaching or learning (TLR) or special educational needs coordinator (SENCo) responsibility, only 17 per cent of roles were filled with ease; members reported difficulty in recruiting to 61 per cent of these posts, and in 23 per cent of cases, the school failed to recruit altogether 
  • All too often recruitment efforts fail to produce enough high-quality candidates. The main reasons as to why schools struggled to recruit included the quality of applicants in the area (cited by 64 per cent of individuals) and an overall shortage of staff in the area (cited by 50 per cent of respondents) 
  • Continuing the trend seen in 2016, supply agencies were the most common solution for those schools that failed to recruit (reported by 73 per cent of individuals). A further concern our survey revealed is that 44 per cent of respondents reported the solution to the failure to recruit was for a member of the senior leadership team to cover the teaching hours (up from 41 per cent in 2016). 

NAHT deputy general secretary Nick Brook said: "Despite four years of warnings by NAHT, the recruitment crisis continues unabated. The government is still failing to provide enough teachers for our growing school population. The recruitment pipeline is leaking, with insufficient numbers of newly qualified teachers coming into the system and too many experienced teachers leaving prematurely."

Download our full report here.

Our survey shows recruitment in schools is a significant problem