CREDIT: This story was first seen in KentOnline
Schools across Kent are facing a critical shortage of teachers, it has emerged as children return to the classroom, KentOnline reports.
The warning came from Christine Dickinson, Kent divisional secretary of the National Education Union, and comes as research by KentOnline shows at least 90 teaching positions in the county remain unfilled.
It comes after it was revealed that 45 schools in Kent do not have a permanent headteacher in place.
Analysis of the Kent Teach website, which is used by schools to advertise vacancies, shows positions still vacant going into the new academic year include principals, head teachers, class teachers, and teaching assistants.
Ms Dickinson said: “Unfortunately due to the financial problems that we have in schools, instead of employing supply teachers who are fully trained teachers, schools tend to use cover supervisors which may mean they are not qualified.
“I don’t want to consider where we might be heading. It’s an awful prospect for our children today that they might not be able to get a proper education.
“We need more funding. We need that not just for the resources but to attract people into training.
“I think the funding in some areas will affect more areas than others but it’s a big enough problem in Kent for it to be critical.”
Speaking about the need for pupils to have regular teachers they are able to relate to, Ms Dickinson said it was important especially in a child’s early school life.
She added: “Particularly at primary school pupils develop a relationship with their teacher and for people with social and emotional needs.
“A lot of teachers are understanding why there are staff shortages because they have themselves considered giving the job up.
“It’s such a data controlled job at the moment the work load is outrageous.”
The discovery of staff shortages comes as children are returning to the classroom this week for the new academic year.
Secondary manager at Three R’s Teacher Recruitment in Ashford, which fills teacher vacancies on an urgent and temporary basis, Nikki Curry, said: “The demand has massively increased this year.
“We’ve found that a lot of schools have found it difficult to recruit teachers.
“Maths and science have always been problematic subjects to cover but we’re increasingly struggling with English now as well.
“We do work with a wide range of schools in Kent but we’ve had a lot more come to us.
“It does have a massive knock on effect for schools, if there’s a teacher off for a long time there’s a lot more pressure on other members of the team.”