Thousands of jobs lost as number of teachers declines

The number of teachers at schools in England fell in 2011, reversing more than a decade of steady increases.

In November 2011 there were 10,000 fewer full-time equivalent teachers than there had been a year earlier. At 438,000 the number of teachers has fallen below where it was in 2007. The rapid rise in teaching assistants slowed in 2011 but there was still an increase in their full-time equivalent numbers by almost 6,000 to 219,800.

The general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), Brian Lightman, said it was not surprising to see that the number of teachers had decreased slightly. ‘We predicted two years ago that, as budgets were cut, some schools would have to make hard decisions about staffing levels as the only way to make ends meet,’ he said.

‘Often this is done when teachers retire, by not replacing them like for like but instead increasing class sizes slightly, shifting responsibilities among staff and using teaching assistants and support staff more effectively,’ he added.

By David Gordon