Redcar MP concerned as school spending on supply teachers rises to £1.3 billion

Anna Turley, Labour MP for Redcar, has warned that teaching shortages are forcing schools to spend more on supply staff.

Responding to a parliamentary question from Anna, the Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb, has revealed that schools in England spent just under £1.3 billion on supply teachers in academy and maintained schools in 2015-16.

The figure is a 2.5% increase on the £1.26 billion spent in 2014-15. It covers directly employed supply teachers, agency supply teachers and supply teacher insurance.

In the North East alone, £63.6 million was spent on supply staff in 2015/16.

This spending increase has occurred at a time when the vacancy rate for teaching staff has been rising; from 380 in 2010 (0.1% of the workforce) to 920 (0.3%) in 2016.

The number of temporarily filled positions (filled by a teacher on a contract of at least one term but less than one year) has also increased from 1,790 (0.5% of the workforce) to 3,280 (0.9%).

Commenting on the figures, Anna said:

“The numbers are a cause for concern about the ability of our schools to cope with the ongoing crisis in teaching. Staff are working incredibly hard to provide the best education for our young people, but if they are being forced to fill gaps with supply and temporary teachers there are clearly issues that need to be addressed.

“Year upon year of pay freezes and rising pressure from workloads and targets have hit morale amongst teachers and it is no surprise that shortages of permanent staff are happening as a result.

“I will be following this up with the government to ensure that everything possible is being done to address the issue and make sure our young people have the excellent education they deserve.” 

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