Shortfall in teacher numbers hits 30,000

Staffing levels in further education have slumped by 20,000 since 2010, according to figures that have led to further claims of a crisis in the classroom. In secondary schools, shortfalls are most severe in subjects that ministers claim to be prioritising, such as maths, physics and computing.

However, analysis of the government’s own teacher recruitment targets shows it has consistently failed to reach the necessary numbers – with the biggest shortfall coming last year, when the target was missed by 3,000.

Official statistics show a sharp decline in teachers in further education colleges, a fall of nearly 20,000 between 2010 and 2017. Labour warned that the public sector pay cap left staff around £2,500 worse off over the same period. The Institute for Fiscal Studies thinktank stated that FE funding per pupil will fall to the level of 30 years ago by 2020.

Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary who uncovered the figures, said: “This government have created a crisis at every stage of our education system, missing their own school teacher recruitment targets in five consecutive years, while tens of thousands more are lost from further education colleges. The Tories’ public sector pay cap is leaving teachers thousands of pounds worse off and making it impossible for schools and colleges to recruit the staff they need.”