Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Government to spend £10m recruiting 600 foreign teachers to fill maths, physics and languages roles

Economic improvements, a shrinking graduate pool and increased competition in the labour market cited as reasons for teacher shortage

Will Worley
Saturday 15 July 2017 18:57 BST
Teachers are being sought from abroad to tackle a shortage, at significant cost to the taxpayer
Teachers are being sought from abroad to tackle a shortage, at significant cost to the taxpayer (Getty Images)

The government is to spend up to £10m recruiting foreign teachers to fill shortages in maths, physics and languages roles.

The multi-million pound sum, to be funded by the taxpayer, will be spent on finding and training 600 new teachers, potentially equating to a cost of more than £16,000 per teacher.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) have published a tender outlining plans to recruit the teachers over three years, with the first intake beginning in September 2018.

Last week it was revealed that a quarter of teachers who qualified since 2011 have left the job.

Experts have blamed the staff losses on high workloads and funding cuts leaving the education system under-resourced.

But the tender did not cite these factors for the lack of specialist teachers.

“Improvements in the economy, a shrinking graduate pool and greater competition in the labour market will make it more difficult for the education system to meet the demand for additional teachers domestically,” it said.

“It is on this basis that overseas recruitment will be pursued as a supplementary avenue of teacher supply.”

The initial budget was for £4.1m but the scheme is now estimated to cost between £6m and £10m.

It will be spent on three aspects of the plan: recruitment and “bespoke” acclimatisation and training.

The company which wins the tender will be expected to facilitate the customs process and flights to the UK, in addition to the contracted roles.

No target countries have yet been specified but the NCTL said it was taking a “global perspective”.

Candidates will be expected to have at least a ‘B2’ level of English proficiency – the third highest internationally recognised standard – but will be given lessons if necessary.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “We have a record number of teachers in our schools – 15,500 more than in 2010. The number of new teachers entering our classrooms outnumbers those who retire or leave, and there are more teachers returning to the profession.

“While the majority of teachers are recruited from this country, schools have always been able to recruit staff from overseas to fill posts which cannot be filled from the resident workforce and internationally trained teachers make a valuable contribution to our education system.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in