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Rethinking the complex determinants of teacher shortages: New evidence

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This ESRC-funded study used longitudinal data and evaluated policy interventions. Results suggest balancing teacher quantity and quality.

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Most prior research on teacher supply does not consider the interactions of the different factors accounting for the shortages. Existing studies on individuals’ choice of teaching as a career also include only those who are in teaching or intend to teach. This tends to distort the relative importance of determining factors and so gives misleading results. Our study is unique in that it used a multi-pronged approach, analysing policy decisions, longitudinal data on teacher numbers and teacher vacancies, numbers applying to teacher training, individuals’ decision-making processes and robust evaluations of policy interventions. It also considers those who are not interested in teaching as well as those who are interested in teaching. Our findings suggest that bursaries and scholarship incentives do not provide long-term solutions. Career trajectories of students are already mapped out by the time they are in the university. Incongruent government policies, such as the current proposed ITT reform have greater impact on limiting the number of trainees by reducing the number of training providers. The contention between addressing the quality of teachers and the number of teachers needs to be carefully balanced.


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Organizer Durham Univ. Evidence Centre for Education

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