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Suffolk is facing a teaching shortage - but why don’t young teachers want to work here?

PUBLISHED: 06:01 16 March 2020

The Get intoTeaching event is coming to Ipswich. Picture: ADAM FRADGLEY

The Get intoTeaching event is coming to Ipswich. Picture: ADAM FRADGLEY

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A recruitment drive to find more teachers is coming to Ipswich amid a UK-wide shortage – but what are the key issues facing teachers in Suffolk and what can be done about them?

Headteacher of Chantry Academy Craig D'Cunha  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNHeadteacher of Chantry Academy Craig D'Cunha Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Headteachers from several Ipswich schools have highlighted concerns over pay and pension, incentives and the intense pressures in schools nowadays.

In 2018 there were 6,413 teachers in Suffolk, down from 6,680 in 2013.

On Wednesday, March 18 the University of Suffolk hosts the Get Into Teaching campaign Train to Teach event from 4.30pm until 7.30pm, at the Waterfront Building in Neptune Quay.

Craig D'Cunha, headteacher at Chantry Academy, is pleased to see the event come to Ipswich and said 'anything you can do to attract teachers is good'.

Kesgrave High School headteacher Nigel Burgoyne. Picture: SU ANDERSONKesgrave High School headteacher Nigel Burgoyne. Picture: SU ANDERSON

However he is aware of the challenges of the job, saying: 'Teaching is a vocation - you never stop thinking about your work even when you're not at school.

'It is a diverse role where you are a parent, a friend, a counsellor, a disciplinarian - you have to do it all.'

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He cites the lack of external support for teachers and the workload and expectation on their shoulders as something which has led to a shortage.

Graham White is spokesman for the National Education Union in Suffolk. Picture: ARCHANTGraham White is spokesman for the National Education Union in Suffolk. Picture: ARCHANT

Kesgrave High School is still attracting brilliant trainee teachers, according to headteacher Nigel Burgoyne - but there is a lack of experienced older staff in the sector.

He pointed out that in 2011, there were 52,000 teachers aged 55 or older nationally - which dropped to 35,000 by 2018.

'A lot of teachers are retiring at 55 and people are increasingly going part-time,' he added.

'This is great for flexible working but you still need to get more teachers in.'

Graham White, spokesman for the National Education Union in Suffolk, is concerned the retention rate among young teachers is due to poor pay and pension packages.

He said: 'Many places in Suffolk don't offer recruitment packages, which are often good to attract young new teachers.

'A lot of young teachers now come into the job to get experience and then go off to teach at an international school in Kuwait or Dubai for a couple of years, so they can earn their money and then come back and buy the house in Suffolk.

'If you value education, then you need to value teachers. You need to value pupils because it's their future and they only get one chance.'


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