Teacher shortage 'worst for 30 years'

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The Independent Online

Teacher shortages are at their worst level for 36 years, Ofsted chief Mike Tomlinson claimed today.

Four in 10 teachers now leave the profession before they have completed three years in the classroom, the Chief Inspector of Schools said.

"I think over my period of time in education this is about the third major cycle of this sort," Mr Tomlinson, who began teaching in 1965, told The Guardian.

"I do think this is probably the worse of the three ... It is worse this time, more widespread."

He urged the Government to do more to retain teachers who, after three years in the profession, were on salaries that offered them little hope of getting on the property ladder.

But the Department for Education dismissed the claims. "The fact is there are more teachers in our classrooms today than in any year since 1984," said a DfE spokeswoman.

"Our focus remains committed to teacher recruitment and there are 12,000 more teachers in our classrooms today than in 1998. "We set up a major independent review of teacher workloads and we've recruited 25,000 new teaching assistants since 1999 to give teachers more direct support in the classroom.

"These measures have helped reverse an eight–year decline in teacher recruitment so there are now more teachers in our classrooms than in any year since 1984."