Valentine Mulholland, Head of Policy for school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “We’re pleased to see the DfE beginning to tackle this issue. While their proposals don’t go as far as NAHT’s call for a cap on the fees that supply agencies can charge, as there is in the NHS, this voluntary approach is a step in the right direction for now.
“The new vacancies website is just a pilot in two areas of the country, but if it works it should be rolled out nationally as soon as possible. And a list of preferred supply agencies will be helpful but we should be wary of accidentally allowing the government to portray supply agencies as the only reason that recruitment is such a worry for school leaders.
“These new measures are sensible but they cannot hope to solve the root cause of the recruitment and financial crises facing schools. School budgets are at breaking point. Any moves to bring costs down are both welcome and essential, but it is still vital that the overall budget goes up. The Treasury must release more money for schools without further delay.
“Recruitment is a challenge because there are insufficient numbers of newly qualified teachers coming into the system and too many experienced teachers leaving prematurely. Agency costs are a problem but it is the lack of teachers that force their use.
“The solution that all schools are crying out for is more money overall and a better deal for teachers, who have seen their workload rise and salaries fall in real terms for nearly a decade.”
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