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School spending on supply teacher agencies jumps by a fifth in three years

School spending on supply teacher agencies jumps by a fifth in three years

School spending on supply teacher agencies has jumped by a fifth in three years, with MPs warning that the Government has no long term strategy to address staff shortages.

The amount that schools spend on recruitment agency fees alone has increased by almost a fifth (18.5%) in the past four years, from £469 million in 2012/13 to £556 million in 2015/16.

These figures exclude the spend for academies, which means the overall cost for academies and free schools - which now represent the majority of schools - will be substantially higher.

Such is the demand for supply teachers that agencies typically charge a commission fee of up to 30%, almost double the industry average.

Education recruitment is the fastest growing recruitment sector, with more and more opening year on year because it is such a lucrative market place.

The Supply Register, a computerised recruitment system that allows schools to cut out agencies and hire teachers directly, uses similar technology to that used by around 20 NHS Trusts to access locum doctors and nurses.

A report published this week warned that the Government has no long-term strategy to deal with the shortage of teachers. The Education Select Committee report found that the Department for Education missed its recruitment targets for teachers for the past five years, and adds that teacher retention is a major problem.

The report calls for a cap on hours to encourage teachers to stay in the profession.

Source: Telegraph

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