Government to spend £10m to recruit 600 foreign teachers

CREDIT: This story was first seen in The Telegraph

The government plans to spend £10m on hiring 600 foreign teachers, it emerged last night, as it launches one of the biggest ever overseas recruitment campaigns, The Telegraph reports.

A tender published by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), reveals how the Department for Education seeks to address the “acute” shortage of teachers in Maths, Physics and Modern Languages.

The cost to the taxpayer of recruiting each teacher will be over £16,000 – before they have even stepped foot in a classroom.

The government blamed the growth in pupil numbers, improvements in the economy, a shrinking graduate pool and greater competition in the labour market for its failure to recruit enough teachers within the UK. It says that overseas recruitment is necessary as a “supplementary avenue of teacher supply”.

The cost to the taxpayer of recruiting each teacher will be over £16,000

Despite initially allocating £4.1m for the scheme – just £6,800 per teacher – the government has now admitted the project will cost between £6m and £10m.

Teachers will need to be recruited from overseas, trained up to qualified teacher status and given English lessons if necessary, according to the bid specification document.

The successful company will then need to secure the teachers’ passage into the country by guiding them through the visa and immigration process, and then place them in a school. The first cohort of overseas teachers will be placed schools by September 2018.

Maths, Physics and Modern Foreign Languages teachers are in short supply

The DfE has failed to meet its targets for recruiting maths and physics teachers every year for the past five years.

Earlier this year the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), recommended widening the number of subjects for which schools could recruit from non-EU countries.

The MAC, which was asked by the government to review the labour market for teachers and secondary education last year, recommended that Mandarin and general science teachers should be designated as “shortage occupations”.

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A report by the Sutton Trust highlighted the government’s failure to attract science graduates into teaching, particularly in the sciences. In 2015/16, just 746 physics graduates entered teacher training, less than three-quarters of the government’s target, the report said, adding that only half (51%) of school of physics teachers have a relevant degree.

A DfE 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.”

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