Public Accounts Committee on Teacher Numbers

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, has commented on the Public Accounts Committee report on teacher numbers.

“The PAC has delivered a devastating critique of the Government’s failure to ensure that there are enough teachers working in England’s schools.  The Department for Education has been asleep at the helm whilst the teacher supply crisis has moved from critical to catastrophic status.  Fiddling whilst teacher supply burns, the Government has engaged in a number of small, localised initiatives which fail to begin to address the scale of the teacher supply problem.

“The PAC is correct in its analysis that excessive workload and inadequate pay is failing to attract, and driving teachers from, the profession at a time when school rolls will rise by over half a million extra pupils. Inadequate funding for schools will create a pressure keg of rising class sizes, creating even more unsustainable workload pressures for teachers and school leaders.

“What is most worrying is the PAC’s concern that the Department appears to have little clue about how to counter the exodus of experienced teachers from the profession. Whilst the Department’s workload challenge is a welcome step, it is entirely inadequate to hold back the tide of accountability pressures which engulf teachers and drives them to depart.

“What is needed, now, is bold and innovative thinking which must include radical changes to the accountability pressures on schools and a rise in teachers’ pay which will make it attractive to graduates.

“The PAC’s recommendation that the Government should work with others in the school sector to set out what is an acceptable level of teacher workload is to be welcomed. The National Education Union is willing to engage fully with Government in what will be a detailed and complex piece of work, defining the workload levels acceptable for teachers.”


Press release
31 January 2018