Secondary school recruitment in 2023/24

  • Following two years of below-normal teacher recruitment activity during the pandemic, we saw two unusually active years in 2021/22 and 2022/23. The current year is somewhere in between: still higher than usual, but down from the highest post-pandemic peaks.
  • Activity during the recent peak season has not been much different to a normal pre-pandemic year. The increased activity seen during 2023/24 has been due mainly to unusually high numbers of adverts between September and December. In other words, teacher recruitment has become a bit less seasonal, with more activity early in the academic year.
  • There is a great deal of variation by subject, with the biggest percentage increases relative to pre-pandemic norms seen in the humanities, technology, the arts and languages. The relative changes in numbers of English, maths and science adverts were modest by comparison. There are also considerable variations by region, with the largest increases since before the pandemic seen in the North West.
  • Technician recruitment is less seasonal, but also showed big increases in the two years immediately after the pandemic. Overall advert numbers have now returned to levels only just above those seen before the pandemic. Here, too, there is considerable variation by region, with the biggest increases since before the pandemic seen in the North West, and by subject, with the biggest increases seen in arts subjects.
  • Following dips in 2020/21 and 2021/22, followed by usually high activity in 2022/23, headteacher turnover appears to have returned to more or less normal pre-pandemic levels, though with more changes happening out of season in January or April rather than in September.
  • Schools with higher proportions of children who are eligible for free school meals tended to advertise for teachers more frequently than those with lower proportions, and this gap has grown since the pandemic. This opposite trend was observed for technician vacancies
  • Since the end of the pandemic, there has been a large increase in spending on supply teachers. This is higher for schools with greater proportions of pupils eligible for free school meals and for those located in poorer areas. These disparities have grown since the pandemic.
  • Even after allowing for their different teacher populations, there are considerable regional variations in the numbers of newly trained teachers ending up at state schools. These are highest in London and lowest in the North East, and this gap has increased considerably since the pandemic.
  • So in certain ways things have partially returned to normal. But in others they remain disrupted, with some of the new burdens falling disproportionately on disadvantaged schools.

Figure 1: Weekly teacher recruitment advert counts among secondary schools in England
Notes: '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 Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 2: Teacher recruitment adverts among secondary schools in England
Notes: See notes to Figure 1 for subject definitions. Dates on the horizontal axis are for the 2020-2021 academic year. Values for 2019/20 are those corresponding to periods exactly 52 weeks earlier, those for 2018-2019 to 104 weeks earlier, those for 2021-2022 to 52 weeks later, those for 2022-2023 to 104 weeks later and those for 2023-2024 to 156 weeks later. This aligns days of the week at the expense of a slight mismatch in dates.
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 3: 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 Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 4: Change in teacher recruitment by state secondary school type (2022/23 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; Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 5: Weekly technician recruitment advert counts among secondary schools in England
Notes: '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.
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 6: Technician recruitment among secondary schools in England
Notes: See notes to Figure 8 for subject definitions. Dates on the horizontal axis are for the 2020-2021 academic year. Values for 2019/20 are those corresponding to periods exactly 52 weeks earlier, those for 2018-2019 to 104 weeks earlier, those for 2021-2022 to 52 weeks later, those for 2022-2023 to 104 weeks later and those for 2023-2024 to 156 weeks later. This aligns days of the week at the expense of a slight mismatch in dates.
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 7: Change in secondary school technician recruitment by subject
Notes: See notes to Figure 8 for subject definitions.
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 8: Change in technician recruitment by state secondary school type (2022/23 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%. 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; Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 9: 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 Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 10: Relative teacher recruitment rates at state secondary schools by location and 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.
Sources: State secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; Department for Education; Office for National Statistics; Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 11: Relative technician recruitment rates at state secondary schools by location and 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.
Sources: State secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; Department for Education; Office for National Statistics; Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 12: Spend on supply teachers for mainstream state primary and secondary schools
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.
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 13: Newly trained teachers working in state schools
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 14: Newly trained teachers working in state schools as a proportion of all state school teachers (2021/22)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
  1. All data were gathered using an automatic process that visits school websites every night and extracts information about any new vacancies it finds there 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. The data presented should therefore 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.
 

How frequently are schools being inspected?

  • Across primary schools, almost 45% have received a graded inspection since the pandemic and around 80% have done so within the last 10 years. But the proportions for 'Outstanding' schools are only around 33% and 75%, respectively.
  • Taking into account ungraded inspections too, over 70% of primary schools have received an inspection of some kind since the pandemic and nearly 98% have done so within the last 10 years. Among those judged 'Outstanding' at their last inspection these proportions are much lower: 40% and just under 75%, respectively.
  • Across secondary schools, around 55% have received a graded inspection since the pandemic and almost 90% have done so within the last 10 years. If we include ungraded inspections then nearly 80% of secondary schools have received some kind of inspection since the pandemic and nearly 98% have done so within the last 10 years. But here too the proportions are much lower for 'Outstanding' schools: under 60% and around 80%, respectively.
  • In order for Ofsted to meet its target of reinspecting all schools by summer 2025, it will need to visit roughly 4,700 further schools between now and then. This includes around 4,100 primary schools and 65 secondary schools. Or to put another way, about 930 'Outstanding' schools, 1,670 'Good' schools, 20 schools designated as 'Requires Improvement' and 2,120 schools currently without an Ofsted grade. Given recent inspection rates, this seems like a stretch.

Figure 1: Numbers of primary schools by months since last Ofsted inspection
Sources: Ofsted; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 2: Cumulative proportion of primary schools by months since last graded Ofsted inspection
Sources: Ofsted; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Note: 100% corresponds to 13,866 primary schools, of which 1,613 are rated 'Outstanding', 11,190 are rated 'Good', 1,010 are rated 'Requires Improvement' and 53 are rated 'Inadequate'.
Figure 3: Cumulative proportion of primary schools by months since last Ofsted inspection, graded or ungraded
Sources: Ofsted; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Note: 100% corresponds to 15,347 primary schools, of which 1,297 were rated 'Outstanding' their last inspection, 5,944 were rated 'Good', 950 were rated 'Requires Improvement', 34 were rated 'Inadequate' and 7,122 received an unrated inspection.
Figure 4: Numbers of secondary schools by months since last Ofsted graded inspection
Sources: Ofsted; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 5: Cumulative proportion of secondary schools by months since last graded Ofsted inspection
Sources: Ofsted; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Note: 100% corresponds to 3,041 secondary schools, of which 468 are rated 'Outstanding', 2,123 are rated 'Good', 392 are rated 'Requires Improvement' and 58 are rated 'Inadequate'.
Figure 6: Cumulative proportion of secondary schools by months since last Ofsted inspection, graded or ungraded
Sources: Ofsted; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Note: 100% corresponds to 3,209 secondary schools, of which 373 were rated 'Outstanding' their last inspection, 1,334 were rated 'Good', 345 were rated 'Requires Improvement', 15 were rated 'Inadequate' and 1,142 received an unrated inspection.
Figure 7: Proportion of Ofsted inspections that are graded by quarter
Sources: Ofsted; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 8: Schools that have not received a graded inspection since March 2020
Sources: Ofsted; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 9: Schools that have not received any inspection, graded or ungraded, since March 2020
Sources: Ofsted; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
 

Post-pandemic financial fortunes

  • Having peaked during the pandemic, in-year balances have since been in decline. The median primary school had a negative balance in 2023. In contrast, revenue reserves have improved in recent years, which may be a sign of reduced capital expenditure.
  • The proportion of school expenditure devoted to staff costs peaked at 80% in 2021 and has since declined to 77%, a level last seen in 2019. During 2016-2023, per-pupil spend on teaching staff has broadly kept pace with inflation among primary schools, but declined by about 15% among secondary schools. Expenditure on supply teachers has risen rapidly since the pandemic.
  • There have been corresponding increases in non-staff lines. In particular, energy and catering expenditure rose rapidly in 2023, and spend on non-ICT learning resources (such as textbooks) bounced back from mid-pandemic lows – but overall has not kept pace with inflation. Spend on ICT learning resources (such as computers, software and online services) has been flat or declining in nominal terms, and fell by around 40%-50% in real terms between 2016 and 2023.
  • These trends do not affect all parts of the country equally. For example, energy expenditure is around 20% higher in London and the North East than in the South East and South West. Conversely, revenue from school facilities, contributions and donations are around 50%-60% higher in London than in the East Midlands.
  • Spending on staff development has bounced back from its mid-pandemic trough, but longer-term declines have not been reversed and remain 30%-50% below 2016 levels in real terms. Schools with higher proportions of disadvantaged pupils have tended to spend more on staff development, but have also seen the biggest falls since before the pandemic.

Figure 1: Median in-year balance per pupil
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights.
Note: 2016 refers to the 2015-2016 academic year, and similarly for other years.
Figure 2: Median revenue reserve per pupil
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights.
Note: 2016 refers to the 2015-2016 academic year, and similarly for other years.
Figure 3: Proportions of mainstream state school budgets spent on staff
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights.
Note: 2016 refers to the 2015-2016 academic year, and similarly for other years.
Figure 4: Proportions of mainstream state school budgets spent on non-staff costs
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights.
Note: 2016 refers to the 2015-2016 academic year, and similarly for other years.
Figure 5: Staff spend per pupil at mainstream state schools
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights.
Note: 2016 refers to the 2015-2016 academic year, and similarly for other years.
Figure 6: Spend per pupil at mainstream state schools
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights.
Note: 2016 refers to the 2015-2016 academic year, and similarly for other years.
Figure 7: Annual energy spending per pupil (2016-2023)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 8: Annual income per pupil from facilities, contributions and donations (2016-2023)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 9: Staff development and training spend per teacher at mainstream state schools
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights.
Note: 2016 refers to the 2015-2016 academic year, and similarly for other years.
Figure 10: Staff development and training spend per teacher by school type
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%. Urban, suburban and rural groups use ONS rural-urban categories applied to school postcodes.
Sources: School websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 11: Staff development and training spend per teacher (2016-2023)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights.
 

Previous posts

 

 | Copyright © 2024 |