A Massive Shortage of Primary School Teachers in the Near Future

A Massive Shortage of Primary School Teachers in the Near Future

richard_mcmunn_entrepreneurPrimary schools in the United Kingdom are going through a shortage of teachers and this is becoming an increasing problem for schools and local authorities. Once seen as a highly respected profession, primary school teachers are now in short supply more than ever before.

It is expected, according to recent news reports, that in the next two years, there will be more primary school children than there are primary school places. This poses a problem for primary schools and local education authorities as they struggle with demand outweighing supply. This increase in primary school children comes from an upsurge in the birth rate.

There is a shortage of school places for children and there is a massive shortage in primary school teachers. This is now becoming a crisis for schools and education authorities who have too many children and not enough teachers.


The Cause

Teaching as a profession has had a bit of a battering by the government in recent years. Reports suggest that over 15,000 teachers will be required by the next election and the recruitment of primary school teachers has dropped significantly in recent years.

The combination of the birth rate increase is a contributing factor to the cause of the problem along with a decline in morale within the teaching profession as a whole. It is also an important point that the increase in tuition fees means less people can afford to pay for the tuition and courses involved with primary school teaching at university.

There is also the difficulty of placements. Newly-qualified teachers are struggling to find placements after completing their PGCE. Then there is the eye-wateringly high cost of the PGCE. This cost, over £9,000 compared to other post-graduate courses which can be half the price, is a massive amount of money to find for any young person. There are bursaries available of up to £20,000 set by the government, but these are very few and far between.

The Effect

The primary school teaching shortage has led to schools recruiting less than qualified personnel to manage increasing class numbers. Naturally, this will reduce the quality of teaching which brings an already vexing topic of illiteracy in children in the United Kingdom back to the forefront of the teaching profession.  Illiteracy spreads its tentacles across society and rumbles throughout people’s lives as society moves towards everything being documented. Without the properly-qualified teachers to introduce the core topics in a child’s early years, it becomes very difficult when they reach secondary school level.

Despite their being a national shortage of primary school teachers as a whole, it has also been pointed out that the number of male teachers has dropped significantly over the last five years. It would appear that primary school teaching is not a role that many males are enticed by. As most state-maintained schools are mixed gender schools now, there is a noted difference in teachers at the reception stage of the male gender.

The Action Needed

Shortage of Primary School teachers in the UK


Unless the government address this problem now, in two years the problem will have permeated its way through the country and this could seriously affect primary education for many years to come. The essence of primary education is about to implode and that will cause greater difficulties for children as they progress through to secondary level education. As demands on a child increases throughout their school years, once they are lost in the education system it is very hard to get them back onto an even keel.

This then results in failure at GCSE level. With over a million young employed people in the United Kingdom currently, at the age of 16 when children leave secondary education, there aren’t the factory jobs available for them to progress in any longer.

As bleak as this all sounds, it is not just at primary level where the problem exists. The undulating waves will rumble through a child’s educational years and leave a lasting problem.

The government need to seriously look at this problem and local education authorities need to get their ducks in a row so they can get to grips with this growing problem before too many children end up without the education they deserve.

What may appear as just a teaching problem is likely to have ramifications for many years to come if this is not addressed any time soon. The shortage of primary school teachers needs to be looked at from the training and qualifying stage. Making the training once more an attractive enticement for young people is vital to regain the interest in teaching, a once highly respected and envied profession.