Public sector resourcing - REC Education Meeting looks at future school workforce challenges
Last week’s REC Education Meeting brought together sector members to look at what demographic changes will mean for schools and the teaching workforce of the future. Professor John Howson of the University of Oxford and managing director of Dataforeducation.info, discussed how current trends in school recruitment, management and procurement will impact specialist recruitment agencies. Members also heard the latest developments in safeguarding, about the work of the REC/ Teaching Agency Working Group and about pensions reforms and automatic enrolment.
Professor Howson explained that the school system is struggling to cope with present levels of demand and will face even greater challenges in the coming years. In the next five years over 700,000 extra children are forecast to enter primary level education in the maintained sector - with an additional 150,000 pupils expected to join secondary schools. This will have significant consequences for managing and developing the workforce as schools deal with the surge in pupils. Supply agencies will have a key role in covering staff absences with suitably qualified and properly vetted teaching staff and in assisting returners to teaching to get back into the workforce.
The meeting provided a refreshing insight into the long-term challenges the school system faces. I caught up with Dr John Dunn, Chair of REC Education, afterwards:
“Much attention in education is focused on changes driven by the government, as highlighted by the recent controversy surrounding the proposed reform of GCSEs and the return of the O-level. We often forget the overriding importance of wider population trends for the sector and the knock-on effects of the rise and fall in the number of pupils for schools."
“The forecasted increase in the number of children entering the system has major implications for planning and managing the school workforce of the future. Supply agencies have a vital role to play in helping schools meet this surge in demand and will be key partners in maintaining standards.”