Teacher troubles

[Wera Hobhouse MP (left), George Samios (centre) and Jessica Lobbett (right)]

Amazing to hear that teacher vacancies across the South West rose by 175 % between 2017 and 2022. That’s from 82 to 226.

Meanwhile, approximately one in every 200 positions are now vacant – significantly worse than the one in every 500 figure of six years ago.

Bath MP, Wera Hobhouse met with city-based teachers George Samios from Twerton Infant School and Nursery and Jessica Lobbett from Oldfield School city in Parliament to discuss underfunding and recruitment and retention

It comes as it has also been revealed through research by the House of Commons Library, commissioned by the Liberal Democrats, that nationally, the number of teachers leaving the sector a year has risen by 12.9% compared with 2017 levels.

It means that the number of teachers leaving altogether stood close to 39,930 last year, or 8.8% of the workforce. That is up from 35,376 in 2017.

The Liberal Democrats say they recognise the crisis in teacher retention and recruitment in our schools, driven by years of real-terms pay cuts, and an increasingly unmanageable workload. 

The party has called for the government to immediately commit the full £15 billion to catch-up funding for children following the pandemic, in line with the recommendations from the government’s former Education Recovery Commissioner, Sir Kevan Collins. So far, the government has only committed £4.9 billion of the £15 billion needed for catch-up education as recommended. 

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, commented:

“Teachers deserve a fair wage for the vital work they do, and need to be empowered to give high-quality education to their pupils. 

“By ensuring we have motivated teachers, we ensure that children have a good education and that the next generations have a positive and exciting future.  

“The challenges with underfunding and staff shortages is only making the education recovery from the pandemic even harder. It is imperative that the government stop sitting on their hands and get pupils the high quality education they deserve.”

The data from the House of Commons Library can be found here


  1. Staff shortages has little to do with Government underfunding – Ms Hobhouse is using the problem to score political points.
    The problem has everything to do with the ill-conceived ‘progressive’ educational ideologies born in the sixties and seventies, and injected with steroids in 1992 when Ofsted inspections were introduced.
    After seven years as a Physics teacher in the 70’s, I left the education system to do a more worthwhile job. Standards, expectations and aspirations were spiralling downwards, and child-centred education showed itself as scholastic anarchy.
    I wouldn’t return to teaching even if you put me on Kier Starmer’s salary and expenses. It ruins many teachers’ lives.

  2. Sent in by someone who wishes to remain anonymous:
    “A short story to illustrate your piece on the shortage of teachers.
    One of my sons is a secondary school teacher (just outside Birmingham so not in the SW region).
    His degree is Geography (physical rather than human) and his A levels were Biology, Physics and Chemistry.
    This school year 1/3 of his teaching time is Maths due to the shortage of Maths teachers – no Maths A level!! (So much for Rishi’s promises of maths until 18)
    Next year he’s been asked to teach English and even he’s horrified. He’s spending the summer mugging up on texts he last encountered when doing his GCSE exams.
    His school are trying (not v successfully) to recruit from outside the UK & Europe.
    Shortage or crisis?”

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