Union boss warns of teacher shortage as schools sit on staffing 'timebomb'

Scott Lyons, from the National Education Union. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Scott Lyons, from the National Education Union. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

The region's schools are "sitting on a timebomb" of future staff shortages and recruitment woes, a union boss has warned.

As educators continue to try to manage the impact of Covid-19 against a backdrop of an already highly stressful job, there are rising fears of a mass exodus from the profession.

And Scott Lyons, district secretary of the Norfolk branch of the National Education Union has warned that newly-trained teachers, in particular, have suffered from the additional challenges of the pandemic and are being scared away.

This, he said, will eventually create a breakdown in the production line of teachers, with more experienced staff leaving the profession without new blood to step into their shoes - with Mr Lyons having seen eight of his members leaving their first year of teaching since September alone.

He said: "They feel they haven't been able to get the right support - both because of the extra demands on experienced teachers and staff absences.

"It feels as though we are sitting on a timebomb and in around two years time we just won't have enough teachers at all."

Mr Lyons added that existing staffing issues during the pandemic have seen schools having to rely heavily on support staff to go above their call of duty and lead classes, which has also driven them away from their roles. 

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"There are plenty of jobs where support staff can earn around the same wage without nearly the same amount of stress and the more demands there are on them the more likely they are to leave the profession," he added.

Among those to leave the profession was 42-year-old David Moore, a secondary science teacher who left his first full-time teaching job at the end of the winter term, having only started at University Technical College in Norwich in September.

David Moore, who chose to leave teaching after just a term

David Moore, who chose to leave teaching after just a term - Credit: David Moore

Mr Moore, of Cringleford, completed a PGCE during the pandemic, which was taught online alongside placements at Framingham Earl and Open Academy.

He said: "What has really driven me away is that the actual teaching only really amounts to about 10pc of the job.

"You have mental health and behavioural issues to contest with and it is just overwhelming. All of this has been exacerbated by the pandemic."

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