Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, has commented on a survey by Eteach on teacher recruitment and retention.

She said: “This survey reflects the rising number of unfilled teacher vacancies, in line with members’ experience and far higher than the Department for Education (DfE) figures suggest.

“Falling pay levels and heightening workload pressures have been causing problems in recruitment and retention for some time, while cuts in funding are making matters worse. Labour Party figures published last week show that teachers are more than £5,000 worse off in real terms than in 2010 due to public sector pay policy. Combined with excessive workload and a system which reduces education to narrow measures of success, it is no surprise that head teachers cannot fill vacancies.

“Obscuring the scale of the problem by delaying the DfE survey in November, when most schools have been forced to take steps to reorganise classes which lack teachers, does no favours for the Government, our schools and the communities of staff, pupils and families they serve.

“This is no way to be running state education. Teaching can and should be a deeply rewarding profession. Unless these issues are addressed with far more urgency than is currently the case many more teachers will be lost to the profession and our children’s education will suffer as a result.”