The national shortage of teaching staff is expected to worsen next year, with around 1,400 vacancies unfilled when children return to school after the summer holidays.
The number is higher than at the start of the current school year, when 1,300 positions still had to be filled. The majority of the posts are for teachers, but the number also includes 400 support staff and 320 head teachers.
Rina den Besten, of the primary school council PO-Raad, said half of all school boards anticipated having to cancel classes during the year and one in four would have to use non-teaching staff to cover lessons. ‘That is very damaging for the quality of education,’ she told NOS.
Although the number of vacancies is increasing, fewer schools are reporting a shortage of staff, suggesting the problem is becoming concentrated in a small number of schools.
A recently published prognosis indicated that the national shortage of teachers would grow to 10,000 by 2027, with schools in the Randstad worst affected.
The education inspectorate warned in April that inequality was being exacerbated by the lack of qualified teachers in disadvantaged areas. Schools where more than 75% of pupils have a non-western migrant background have around four times as many vacancies as those where the proportion is 25% or less.
The PO-Raad said the government needed to close the pay gap between primary and secondary school teachers and do more to recruit and retain staff. ‘The profession needs to become more attractive,’ said Den Besten.
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