The survey, which was shared with thousands of teachers from across Wales working within primary and secondary schools, is the first of a series of surveys which will act as a temperature check for the teaching profession in Wales.
Amongst responses, it was highlighted that the main challenges facing education recruitment are the lack of new teachers joining the profession (specifically for secondary education) and lack of available jobs (specifically for primary education).
While 28% of those surveyed are happy in their current roles, nearly 37% have considered teaching overseas, with 35% considering leaving full-time teaching for supply or tutor work.
One respondent shared: “The profession is enduring a crisis I’ve never seen in the past 30 years of teaching”, while other comments include: “I’ve experienced difficulty finding work in primary schools. There are more qualified teachers looking for jobs than there are jobs available”, “there is a lack of well-qualified Welsh speaking staff”, “there is a serious lack of science teachers”.
However, not all responses were negative, many respondents are looking forward to the roll-out of the New Curriculum for Wales, with one respondent sharing: “it will be both a challenge and opportunity for better teaching and outputs”. Another commented: “This is a very exciting time in teaching, as the New Curriculum for Wales will develop teaching and learning and prepare learners with the skills needed to succeed in their next steps; be it college, university, apprenticeships, or work.”
Rhys Howells, MD of Eteach, said: “As the biggest education recruitment platform in Wales, it is important that we fully understand the challenges the sector and its teachers face. We can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to education staffing in Wales; there is a clear contrast in the recruitment issues faced by secondary and primary schools. Put simply, there are not enough secondary school teachers joining the profession, while there are more primary teachers than there are jobs.
“The split with Welsh and English schools is also something that cannot be ignored. The Welsh Government’s drive for 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050 is fantastic, but with more and more individuals opting for Welsh language education, we need to ensure that more Welsh speakers are exploring teaching as a fulfilling, attractive career option, to meet the demand.”
Commenting on the survey is head teacher of Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Llangynwyd, Meurig Jones: “The results of this survey are a true reflection of teaching in Wales. Teaching is such a rewarding career, and I can’t begin to explain how I have benefitted from the profession since I started as a teacher over twenty years ago.
“I lead a successful school that’s packed with highly talented teachers, yet I still struggle to recruit. More needs to be done to promote the benefits of teaching, so that we can attract more individuals to the profession.”
Other barriers to recruiting teachers, as highlighted in the survey, include low pay (when compared with the private sector), high-workload (due to lack of resources) and pupil behavioural issues.
The complexities and length of job applications was also a large barrier for respondents; with 62% of teachers expressing that they find the application process difficult / very difficult. MD Rhys Howells cites this as the “pivotal change schools need to embrace to ensure that they can maximise their chances of attracting a viable talent pool with which to hire from.”
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