North East schools spent £150m on supply staff, raising concerns over recruitment and retention

Schools in the North East shelled out over £150m last year to cover costs for supply teachers, new figures from the BBC show.

The news comes amid concerns of the increasingly difficult recruitment and retention of teachers.

County Durham is the local authority area with the largest total spend in 2015, amounting to over £9m, followed by Northumberland with over £5.5m.

Total Spend Spend Rate (per pupil)
Darlington 348,529.22 116.37
Durham 9,023,234.14 172.73
Gateshead 2,120,205.66 126.42
Hartlepool 1,341,411.03 154.13
Middlesbrough 2,109,984.06 161.99
Newcastle 4,091,745.82 156.89
North Tyneside 2,579,687.83 98.49
Northumberland 5,581,487.65 179.27
Redcar & Cleveland 2,535,576.05 200.96
South Tyneside 2,491,016.40 147.15
Stockton-On-Tees 2,689,041.48 140.54
Sunderland 3,191,433.25 147.59

The region was below the national average, with London schools spending the most collectively – the equivalent of £260 per pupil.

Nationally, schools spent around £821m which means around £168 on average was spent on each child to hire extra staff. However, the figures are lower by £18m than in 2014.

SCHOOLS NorthEast Director Mike Parker told The Chronicle that while the region fell below the national average on supply spend, there was a significant need to recruit permanent teachers in certain part of the region in core subjects:

“We did a survey earlier this year which revealed that nine out of 10 headteachers were having difficulty recruiting teachers and nearly three-quarters expected the next year to be more difficult.”

As a response to overarching concerns amongst school leaders, SCHOOLS NorthEast launched the region’s most cost-effective recruitment portal – Jobs in Schools | North East. Since its launch in January, the portal has brought schools more than double the average number of candidates.

One thought on “North East schools spent £150m on supply staff, raising concerns over recruitment and retention

  1. It is interesting to note an overall reduction of £18m being spent on supply staff. I suspect that this reduction is due in part to the overuse of non qualified teaching staff, such as teaching assistants, HLTAs and cover supervisors instead of qualified teachers. This coupled with a shortage of teachers cannot be good for our pupil’s education. Non qualified support staff certainly make a valuable contribution in schools, but schools over reliance on them to cover classes, instead of a qualified teacher could prove detrimental to our pupil’s education in the long run.

    There has and always will be a need for supply staff provision in schools and academies, this will not change. It is essential though that, supply staff are of a high standard and our local teacher supply agencies play a vital role in assisting schools with this every year


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