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Why don’t we have enough teachers?: A reconsideration of the available evidence

See, B.H.; Gorard, S.

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There is widespread concern about the shortage of secondary school teachers in England. Recruitment to initial teacher training regularly fails to meet its intake targets. The secondary school pupil population is increasing. Teacher vacancies have risen, and more teachers are reportedly leaving the profession prematurely. Despite considerable investment in a wide range of initiatives, costing millions of pounds, the government has acknowledged that it has been unable improve the situation substantially. This paper presents time-series analyses of official data and documentary analyses of government publications. These suggest that teacher shortages are partly created by government policies themselves - including flaws in the selection system, and school funding system, the official extension of the education and training leaving age, and increases in the number of small schools. It is difficult when planning for teacher supply to anticipate the impact of such varied policy changes years ahead. Consequently, estimations of the numbers needed to be trained are hardly ever accurate. This paper suggests a reconsideration of the current selection processes for initial teacher training, independent review of the Teacher Supply Model to, and a long-term approach to teacher supply planning, considering other policy changes in a more coordinated way.


See, B., & Gorard, S. (2020). Why don’t we have enough teachers?: A reconsideration of the available evidence. Research Papers in Education, 35(4), 416-442.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 3, 2019
Online Publication Date Jan 18, 2019
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Jan 4, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 19, 2020
Journal Research Papers in Education
Print ISSN 0267-1522
Electronic ISSN 1470-1146
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 4
Pages 416-442


Accepted Journal Article (1.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (
by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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