Russell Hobby of National Association of Head Teachers says members should act over crisis before ministers close schools or recruit unqualified teachers
Schools must start plugging staff shortages by forming federations and sharing teachers in key subjects such as maths, the leader of biggest head teachers’ union has claimed, as new figures reveal there are 5,000 fewer trainee teachers starting this year.
The alternative to such emergency measures will be ministers stepping in to close smaller schools at a cost to both parents and staff, or an increase in the number of children being taught by unqualified teachers, education experts have claimed.
In an interview ahead of his keynote speech at the National Association of Head Teachers conference on Sunday, Russell Hobby, the union’s general secretary, said a hung parliament provided an opportunity for heads to take control of their own destiny and avoid “crazy” schemes from politicians.
Hobby, whose union has 29,000 members, said that with 500,000 extra pupils due to attend schools over the next five years and with resources tight, heads needed to get together to solve the staffing crisis.
He said: “We are going to be in tight financial straits, so let’s get schools together in groups. There are 20,000 schools in the country, thousands have 100 to 200 pupils. “We don’t want to amalgamate, and neither do parents. They don’t want to travel for hours to the nearest primary school.