Teacher recruitment after the COVID-19 pandemic

Figure 1: Teacher recruitment adverts among secondary schools in England
Notes: Dates on the horizontal axis are for the 2020-2021 academic year. Values for 2019-2020 are those corresponding to periods exactly 52 weeks earlier, those for 2018-2019 to 104 weeks earlier, and those for 2021-2022 to 52 weeks later. This aligns days of the week at the expense of a slight mismatch in dates. 'Arts' includes Art, Music, Dance and Drama; 'Humanities' includes History, Geography, Politics, Law, Economics, Philosophy and Classics; 'Science' includes Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Psychology; 'Technology' includes Computing, Engineering, Design & Technology and Food Technology; 'Other' includes Business Studies, Media Studies and Physical Education.
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 2: Change in secondary school teacher recruitment by subject
Notes: See notes to Figure 1 for subject definitions.
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 3: Change in teacher recruitment by state secondary school type (2021/22 v 2018/19)
Notes: School deprivation figures based on pupils' eligibility for free school meals, with bands defined by the DfE: low means less than 20%, high means more than 35%. Local deprivation figures based on the mean IDACI of postcodes within a 4km radius of each school, with schools then divided into three roughly equally sized groups. Small schools have fewer than 700 pupils, large ones have more than 1,200. A small proportion of low attainers means less than 12% and a high proportion means more than 18%. A low proportion of EAL pupils means less than 4% and a high proportion means more than 15%. A low proportion of ethnic-minority pupils means 10% or less, while a high proportion means more than 50%. Urban, suburban and rural groups use ONS rural-urban categories applied to school postcodes.
Sources: State secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; Department for Education; Office for National Statistics; Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 4: Technician recruitment among secondary schools in England
Notes: Dates on the horizontal axis are for the 2020-2021 academic year. Values for 2019-2020 are those corresponding to periods exactly 52 weeks earlier; those for 2018-2019 are 104 weeks earlier. This aligns days of the week at the expense of a slight mismatch in dates.
'Arts' includes Art, Music, Dance and Drama; 'Science' includes Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Psychology; 'Technology' includes Computing, Engineering, Design & Technology and Food Technology; 'Other' includes all other subjects. See notes to Figure 1 for a fuller list.
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 5: Change in secondary school technician recruitment by subject
Notes: See notes to Figure 4 for subject definitions.
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 6: Change in technician recruitment by state secondary school type
Notes: School deprivation figures based on pupils' eligibility for free school meals, with bands defined by the DfE: low means less than 20%, high means more than 35%. Local deprivation figures based on the mean IDACI of postcodes within a 4km radius of each school, with schools then divided into three roughly equally sized groups. Small schools have fewer than 700 pupils, large ones have more than 1,200. A small proportion of low attainers means less than 12% and a high proportion means more than 18%. Urban, suburban and rural groups use ONS rural-urban categories applied to school postcodes.
Sources: State secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; Department for Education; Office for National Statistics; Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 7: Number of headteacher changes by month
Notes: Changes unlikely to represent new appointments, such as apparent spelling corrections or changes to surname only, have been filtered out.
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
  1. This process does not capture all vacant positions because: (a) not all positions are advertised on school websites, (b) even when they are, they are not necessarily presented in a way that can be automatically indexed, and (c) websites are sometimes unresponsive or otherwise unavailable. For this reason, the data presented should be thought of as being based not on a comprehensive list of all vacancies but on a subset. However, positions have been detected for well over 90% of schools and these are broadly representative of the overall population of schools.

 

School recruitment in Education Investment Areas

  • Across both primary and secondary schools, teacher recruitment activity in EIAs tends to be lower than elsewhere, a trend that predates the pandemic. This could be because of looser labour markets in less affluent areas, or the effects of charitable and governmental support to attract teachers to such schools, or perhaps some combination of both.
  • Among secondary schools, this does not appear to be a subject-specific effect: different subjects show very different numbers of vacancies, but the ratios of vacancies between EIAs and other areas tend to be similar.
  • That said, science teaching vacancies in EIAs are much less likely to stipulate a particular specialty (ie, Biology, Chemistry or Physics rather than just Science in general). This is consistent with our previous findings and with GCSE entry rates in those areas.
  • This lends some support to the policy of offering retention bonuses to early-career teachers working at selected schools if they teach certain priority subjects such as Chemistry and Physics, and for increasing these bonuses if the school is located in an EIA. However, success also requires that the schools themselves seek such specialist teachers in the first place.

Figure 1: Secondary teacher advertising rates by subject and school EIA status
Notes: DT = Design and Technology. PE = Physical Education. Technology includes Information Technology and Computing. Humanities includes Citizenship, Classics, Economics, Law, Philosophy, Politics, PSHE and Sociology. PSHE = Personal, social, health and economic education.
Sources: School websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 2: Percentage differences in teacher advertising rates between non-EIA and EIA secondary schools
Notes: DT = Design and Technology. PE = Physical Education. Technology includes Information Technology and Computing. Humanities includes Citizenship, Classics, Economics, Law, Philosophy, Politics, PSHE and Sociology. PSHE = Personal, social, health and economic education.
Sources: School websites; SchoolDash analysis.
  • In some areas of the curriculum, such as Business and Music3, non-EIA schools might be more likely to offer the subject in the first place. However, this isn't the case for core academic subjects such as Science, Mathematics, English, Geography and History, which nevertheless show considerable disparities in recruitment activity. (See Figure 3, below, for relevant GCSE entry rates in EIA and non-EIA schools4.)
  • EIA schools might be less likely to employ part-time teachers, which would reduce the total number of vacancies for any given size of school. This is why we calculate advertising rates using teacher headcounts rather than FTEs (see Footnote 2). There are indeed regional disparities in proportions of part-time teachers, but unless these have been increasing (which they haven't5), they can't explain the ongoing differences in advertising rates between EIA and non-EIA schools.
  • EIA schools could be more likely to advertise through a multi-academy trust (MAT). We track these positions too, but are often unable to assign them to a specific school, in which case they are excluded from the EIA analysis. There is something to this: schools that currently advertise mainly or solely at a MAT level are split 50/50 between EIA and non-EIA schools (the same applies if we look at numbers of teachers instead of schools). In contrast, of those that recruit at a school level, just a third are EIA schools. However, only a small minority of schools (around 12%, accounting for 13% of teachers) recruit at a MAT level in the first place, so the overall effect can only account for a few percentage points of difference, which is much smaller than we see. Note also that the proportion of vacancies advertised through MATs has been gradually increasing, so it was lower than this in earlier years.
  • Perhaps EIA schools that have vacancies are less likely to advertise on their own websites. We cannot eliminate this possibility, but there seems no obvious reason why it should be true.

Figure 3: GCSE entry rates by subject and secondary school EIA status (2019)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 4: Teacher advertising rates by secondary school type (1 January - 3 June 2022)
Notes: School deprivation figures are based on pupils' eligibility for free school meals, with bands defined by the DfE. Local deprivation figures based on the mean IDACI of postcodes within a 4km radius of each school, with schools then divided into three roughly equally sized groups. A low proportion of EAL pupils means less than 4% and a high proportion means more than 15%.
Sources: School websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 5: Proportions of specialist science teacher advertisements among secondary schools
Sources: School websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 6: GCSE entry rates by subject and secondary school EIA status (2019)
Notes: DT = Design and Technology. PE = Physical Education. Technology includes Information Technology and Computing. Humanities includes Citizenship, Classics, Economics, Law, Philosophy, Politics, PSHE and Sociology. PSHE = Personal, social, health and economic education.
Sources: School websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 7: Secondary technician advertising rates by subject and school EIA status
Notes: DT = Design and Technology. PE = Physical Education. Technology includes Information Technology and Computing. Humanities includes Citizenship, Classics, Economics, Law, Philosophy, Politics, PSHE and Sociology. PSHE = Personal, social, health and economic education.
Sources: School websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 8: Primary teacher advertising rates by school type (19 April - 3 June 2022)
Notes: School deprivation figures are based on pupils' eligibility for free school meals, with bands defined by the DfE. Local deprivation figures based on the mean IDACI of postcodes within a 2km radius of each school, with schools then divided into three roughly equally sized groups. A low proportion of EAL pupils means less than 4% and a high proportion means more than 15%.
Sources: School websites; SchoolDash analysis.
  1. Not all vacancies are advertised on school or college websites. Even when they are, sometimes the website is unresponsive, and at other times vacancies are presented or described in ways that make them difficult for our software to identify.
  2. We use total teacher headcount rather than FTEs because adverts, many of which are for part-time positions, are usually to replace people, not FTEs. In any case, we have run the analysis both ways and it turns out that this choice makes no practical difference to the overall conclusions.
  3. These subjects show considerable regional variations in popularity. Subscribers to SchoolDash Insights can refer to the relevant regional maps for Business and Music.
  4. Note that although Geography shows a difference, overall entry rates are relatively high, so the disparity is smaller in proportional terms than for Business or Music.
  5. SchoolDash Insights subscribers can compare regional variations in 2020 with those in, say, 2015 and see that there has been very little change over time.
  6. Perhaps unsurprisingly, GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics also tend to be more popular in southern regions while Double Science is more common in northern regions. Subscribers to SchoolDash Insights can see this in the regional maps for GCSE Double Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

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