Island ‘not suffering’ from national teacher shortage says councillor

The cabinet member for education has said the Island is “not suffering” from a national teacher shortage.

A national report published in late August claims England is struggling to retain teachers in key subject areas.

The report from think tank Education Policy Institute (EPI), found that many teachers are quitting in the early stages of their career.

Teacher retention rates in England are continuing to decline as the EPI found that just 60% of teachers stay in state-funded schools for five years after starting.

Worse still for “high priority” subjects, as the report says half of all new maths and physics teachers left their positions at state-funded schools within five years.

Councillor Paul Brading (Lake South), cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills says the report’s findings are not affecting the Island.

Stock teaching image – licensed under CC 2.0 – Ilmicrofono Oggiono

Cllr Brading said: “I have read the report and recognise that teacher recruitment is a big national issue. Thankfully, the Island is not suffering from this at the moment, but we cannot be complacent.

“Certainly our partnership with Hampshire helps us in attracting teachers to come to the Island as well.

“Our policy has been, and will continue to be, on recruiting the right quality teachers for our schools, alongside a strong focus on continuing to focus on our retention strategy.”

Vix Lowthian the Island Green Party’s candidate and teacher said it was “dangerous for Cllr Brading to be so complacent”.

Vix Lowthion

She said: “If he’s basing his opinion on the number of vacancies in September he’s mistaken – as schools start a new year they are always at their best staffed time. Ask again in April.

“It’s very clear we are facing a national crisis of retention of teachers. This is a huge waste of time and resources.

“Anecdotally, teachers and pupils on the Island will tell you of their science teacher who is now working in a supermarket, and of talented school leaders who have handed back responsibilities – leaving vacancies in school management [that are] still to be filled.

“It is dangerous for Cllr Brading to be so complacent. As director of children’s services he should be supporting schools in reducing workload, improving behaviour and making our schools happy, positive places – not only for pupils but also our valuable teachers.

“Teachers are the best resource we have to encourage and inspire the next generation of islanders. We cannot assume that the Island is immune to a national shortage of qualified and experienced staff.”