Originally posted on www.YourHarlow.com

THE LABOUR candidate at the next General Election has marked the Tories as “could do better” as the town faces a teacher recruitment crisis.

Chris Vince said: “The recent announcement that Burnt Mill School cannot recruit a French language teacher highlights the recruitment challenges afflicting our schools.

There is a school near Harlow where whole year groups have not had a Science teacher for more than a year. They struggle on with non-science staff covering lessons.

In another school, all members of the senior leadership team must take Maths lessons, whatever their own specialist subject, because they cannot find any qualified maths teachers to employ.

Schools are now so desperate for staff in core subjects that agencies are offering posts without interview.

Without doubt there is a crisis of recruitment, worse than anything ever seen in my lifetime. And the Conservative leader Mr Sunak’s response is to come out with plans for more maths and English teaching post 16. Quite where Mr Sunak expects to find the staff to deliver this is a mystery.

Our local MP, Mr Halfon is well aware of the crisis in recruitment, he is a Minister in an important position in the failing Department of Education. I know that teachers have written to Mr Halfon about staff shortages and teaching posts being offered without interview. Mr Halfon doesn’t respond in any meaningful way, he certainly doesn’t speak out to challenge Mr Sunak and support Harlow’s children. Let’s be honest these plans are nonsense, aimed at diverting attention from crumbling school buildings.

Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson says “Labour’s plan to recruit an additional 6,500 teachers and reform incentive schemes will tackle teaching shortages, and drive high and rising standards in our schools so we can break down barriers to opportunity for our young people.

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“This crisis of recruitment and retention has got worse year by year since the Conservatives entered Government in 2010. Labour’s announcement is welcome; but such is the scale of Conservative neglect, there will need to be much more movement to change the negative direction.

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