Schools across Merseyside are continuing to struggle to fill permanent teaching posts as the teacher shortage crisis continues.
In December 2021, the Department of Education made an urgent appeal for teachers across the UK as there was a sharp rise in Omicron Covid cases.
The DofE’s statistics from 2017-18 and 2020-21 revealed that across Merseyside state-funded schools all areas have had a percentage increase of staff who are part-time since prior to the pandemic.
Peter Barnett, NEU assistant secretary for Liverpool, told Merseynewslive: “More staff are opting for flexible working because of the size of the job, to put it plainly.”
He added: “During the pandemic, a lot of supply staff had to take on other roles and a lot of supply firms chose not to or were not able to provide furlough.
“These staff haven’t necessarily returned which has exacerbated the situation, as well as school budgets and the limited support from central and local government.”
The Department of Education’s statistics also confirmed the pupil population across Merseyside state-funded schools, is just over 72,500, putting further pressure on already strained teachers.
Is the crisis going to get better?
Throughout the year, the demand for supply teachers is predicted to decrease as more schools will recruit higher numbers of permanent staff.
Liverpool education employment agencies are now calling for students to sign up to be cover supervisors and teaching assistants.
A spokesperson at one Liverpool agency told Merseynewslive: “The availability of supply is at an all-time low due the demand from schools and some supply staff opting not to return to schools as a result of Covid infection rates and deaths.”
They added: “I would predict over 70% of the schools across Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral and Sefton have called into our agency for supply staff.”