School teachers crisis

Tuesday 07th January 2020 17:32 EST

Currently Britain is not only facing shortage of doctors, nurses, builders and social care staff but more importantly the shortage of school teachers, on whom the foundation of our future generations depends. More than one million primary school children in England go to schools where they do not have a single full-time male teacher.  With the majority of teaching assistants and lunch staff are also women it means many primary schools have an all-female staff.

Christopher McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, described the gender imbalance as a ‘crisis’ and said it explains ‘the explosion in knife crime and anti-social behaviour’. He said: ‘Boys, in particular, are adversely affected when there are no father figures in their lives. It is time to stop fretting so much about the so called “rights” of girls and wake up to the real state of emergency in our schools – marginalised, disillusioned and under-achieving boys.’

The department said it last year pledged to increase diversity and is building ‘an inclusive environment where all teachers and pupils can feel valued and be themselves’. The nation’s ambition as a nation is to have a world class education system. This needs autonomous, high performing schools where all children progress and achieve their potential and who are taught by the very best teachers. Recruiting, training and developing teachers is crucial for this aspiration to become a reality.

Recent headlines in the Times Educational Supplement have included, ‘Teacher shortages leads schools to spend £733million on supply agencies’; ‘Teacher shortages likely to continue for a decade’; ’90 per cent of teachers consider quitting because of workload, NUT Survey reveals’; ‘Teaching is among the top three most stressed occupations’.

In a number of geographical areas in the UK, there is an acute shortage of qualified primary teachers. In areas of deprivation, many inner city schools struggle to recruit teachers. The same is true for small schools in rural and remote areas. Without a qualified teacher in every classroom in every school, the quality of education for young people is diminishing significantly. Teachers shape children’s lives and play a key role in their future.

The government should invest in them properly as a matter of priority and urgency.

Baldev Sharma

Rayners Lane, Harrow

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