Heads are struggling to recruit teachers for the understaffed subjects locally, and are now looking to recruit from overseas in countries such as Jamaica.
The Department for Education is encouraging this approach, telling a recruitment agent that officials are “building relationships with target countries”, according to a letter seen by the Observer.
The letter, sent to a recruitment agency by a Department for Education official, adds that ministers plan to “help widen the existing recruitment pool by supporting schools to confidently recruit where necessary internationally.”
An appeal on the department’s website advertises generous starting salaries to foreign teachers adding: “Have you considered progressing your teaching career in England? As a talented, qualified teacher, you are in demand. Making the move to England is a great way to gain experience at the start of your career and build your résumé.”
Newly released figures show that 49,120 teachers left the profession between November 2013 and November 2014 – an increase of 3,480 teachers on the previous year, and the largest number to quit in a year since records began.
Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell claimed the exodus was due to a “botched” recruitment strategy and the Government trying to “do down the profession at every opportunity.”
However, a Conservative spokesman said Labour were scaremongering about the situation and emphasised that progress was being made in recruitment for secondary schools
“Far from the picture painted by the Labour party, teaching remains a hugely popular profession, with 3% more people due to start postgraduate teacher training than this time last year. The latest figures show the number of former teachers coming back to the classroom has continued to rise year after year. There are now 13,100 more full-time equivalent teachers than in 2010.”