The impact of COVID-19 on teacher recruitment

6 May 2020 Lauren Golding

We have commissioned education data specialists, SchoolDash, and the teacher surveying service, Teacher Tapp, to undertake ongoing analysis to understand the extent to which the teacher recruitment market has been affected by COVID-19.

The impact of COVID-19 on teacher recruitment

The latest findings include:

  • Following a rapid decline during the second half of March, teacher recruitment among secondary schools in England remained unseasonably low throughout April. During the seven-week period from Monday 16th March to Friday 1st May, about 3,000 fewer teacher advertisements were found on school websites than during the corresponding period in 2019, a fall of 38%.
  • Surveys of teachers and school leaders indicate that this decline is due to a combination of (a) lower teacher turnover and (b) practical difficulties faced by schools trying to recruit during the lockdown. Both causes have potential implications for school staffing when the new academic year begins in September.

These new points add to the picture presented by last months findings, which included:

  • The year's recruiting season has been dramatically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting school closures. Recruiting activity at English secondary schools, as measured by posts advertised on their websites, fell suddenly in mid-March and is currently down by about 50-60% compared to the same period last year.
  • There have been particularly large reductions in the core subjects of maths, science and English, but substantial falls have been seen in all subject areas. By 3rd April, just over two weeks after the announcement of school closures, these year-on-year variances amounted to about 2,000 fewer teacher vacancy advertisements than would be expected if activity had remained normal for this time of year. At the time of writing, this deficit was continuing to grow.
  • A survey of teachers conducted at the end of March indicated that many of those who had previously been considering changing job have since reconsidered. It therefore seems likely that teacher turnover this year will be lower than usual, reducing the number of vacancies that schools have to fill.
  • However, most schools still need to recruit. A survey of school leaders showed that many of them – especially those in secondary schools – have delayed their recruitment activities as a result of the pandemic. This is often because they are trying to work out how to interview and select teachers while schools are closed and social-distancing measures in effect.

Timo Hannay of SchoolDash has written a blog with further details of the findings on the SchoolDash website here.

Click here to read a summary of the previous report and here to read its accompanying blog post.


The impact of COVID-19 on teacher recruitment