More Pupils, Less Teachers

More Pupils, Less Teachers

As you know, Mark Mate was founded as a way to help improve teacher wellbeing. Unfortunately, we can only assist in one area and as we know – wellbeing is a huge issue with many factors. More pupils and fewer teachers is a massive problem, and it’s long past time something was done to fix it.

For the fourth year in a row, class sizes have risen while teachers continue to leave the profession. The Department for Education has released data showing that teachers continue to leave en masse while class sizes grow in spades.

The School Workforce Census shows a sharp drop in the number of teachers in secondary schools, along with a rise in pupils. The proportion of teachers leaving this year was less than last year – 42,000 compared with 44,000. Unfortunately, though, this was largely due to less retirements. Last year, only 6,300 teachers retired – a result of the youngest teaching workforce we’ve ever seen.

Kevin Courtney is the joint general secretary of the National Education Union. Of the new data, he said:

This latest data shows the unacceptable consequences of the school funding crisis and the numbers of teachers being driven out of the profession through the government’s failure to address workload and teacher pay.

Courtney also noted that the government has yet to publish its annual report on teacher pay. He said pay had continued to decline because of the effects on inflation.

With only a few weeks left until the end of the school year, headteachers around the country are finding it difficult to budget for next year without the pay report. The DfE’s pay recommendations are key to school predicting accurate budgets each year.

What Do The People At The Top Say?

Nick Gibb, minister for school standards, recognised the problem:

We do recognise there is more to do to continue to attract and retain talented individuals in our classrooms, which is why we launched the first-ever teacher recruitment and retention strategy earlier this year.

Shadow schools minister Mike Kane, however, took a different approach and blamed the Conservatives:

Years of real-terms pay cuts and skyrocketing workload levels are driving teachers out of our schools, letting down a generation of children.

The Association of School and College Leaders weighed in as well. They said they were concerned that 120,000 secondary pupils were now being taught in classes of more than 30 children because of budget pressures and teacher departures. Geoff Barton, their General Secretary warned that without proper funding, the problem would continue to grow.

The workforce figures also revealed the beginnings of a pay gap. It comes between those in academies and local authority-maintained state schools. Headteachers of secondary academies were paid nearly £2,000 a year more than those in state secondaries. While frontline teachers at secondary academies were paid nearly £1,500 below those in the state sector.

There was a similar pattern in primary schools. Academy heads received about £1,600 more than heads of maintained primaries, but maintained teachers were paid £1,800 more than their peers teaching in academies.

What do you think? Are you seeing your class sizes grow while your colleague leave? Are you relatively new to teaching, and if so how do you deal with the size of your class? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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