The Staff Shortage in UK Schools can be categorised as one of this year’s most crucial educational crises the nation is facing. The issue had emerged with the increase in the birthrate leading to an increased number of students. It reached its peak during the prevalence of Covid 19 Pandemic and got worse during the year 2021. It has created a huge shortage of educators in schools in the United Kingdom. While the UK aims to become the adobe for high-performing, autonomous educational institutions, this crisis has undoubtedly become a prominent obstacle to its way.
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Reasons for Staff Shortage in UK Schools
As mentioned above, the first reason for the staff shortage in UK Schools is the increased number of students. This reason is leading the institutions to increase the number of sections for each standard, thus increasing the need for more teachers. During the Covid Pandemic, the salary cut became the primary factor for employees to quit their jobs. Teachers were no exception. Additionally, the increased workload paired with a lower pay scale has encouraged thousands of teachers to leave their job and switch to other professions. Also, we have lost a great number of education professionals to the deadly pandemic.
Another prominent reason for teachers quitting the profession can be enhanced requirements for digital literacy and technical skills. During covid pandemic, the education system has become hugely dependent on the usage of technology. Because the newly deployed learning methods will remain unchanged in the post-pandemic educational scenario, teachers, accustomed to the traditional teaching methods will have to expend additional effort and time to become accustomed to the systems and unavoidable use of technical tools.
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Future of the Crisis
A decrease of almost 32% in applications for educational job positions has been recorded during the middle of this year. For the last three years, recruitments of Primary and Secondary teachers for subjects like Foreign Languages, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Computer are failing to meet the required number of educators. Surveys are predicting almost no improvements in this adverse situation of staff shortage in UK Schools, till 2025. The time is required for all sectors including education to overcome the aftereffects of the devastating Covid-19 Pandemic. Economic stability, skill development programs for teachers and aspiring educators, and improved, sustainable and scientific Teaching-Learning methods with specific requirements of skillset will lead the education sector to become one of the most preferred industries to work for, once again.
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As this is the time after the pandemic, educational institutions have reopened and are supposed to start all the relevant operations with a more positive and energetic approach than before. Students are attending offline classes in the schools after almost 2.5 years now. More attention to student development and growth need to be provided to the pupils who have lost the habits of normal schooling. In this situation, the shortage of educators can take a toll on student achievements which can be reflected in overall poor results.
According to a few, the crisis of staff shortage in UK Schools can open the door to opportunities for teaching professionals. The huge deficit of teachers may lead UK schools to recruit overseas-trained teachers. Newly qualified teachers may get a chance of teaching in the UK to meet the teacher requirement of educational institutions of the country and to provide excellent teaching services and learning experiences to the students attending school in the post-pandemic era.
The issue regarding the lowered salary for teachers is also to be resolved soon, as the DfE (Department for Education, Government of United Kingdom) has announced a salary boost for educators to be applied for 2022 – 2023.
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