THERE were more vacancies for staff in Dudley schools this academic year, new figures show.

The Association of School and College Leaders said the growing number of vacancies across England is just the "tip of the iceberg" of the struggle schools face with staff numbers.

Figures from the School Workforce Census show there were 11 vacancies across the state-funded schools in Dudley in November 2022 – up from eight the year before.

Of the vacancies, six were for classroom teachers.

Nationally, the figures published by the Government revealed the number of teacher vacancies increased from 1,564 in November 2021 to 2,334 this past November.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the numbers for vacancies were "only the tip of the iceberg".

He added: "What we hear is that it is a constant struggle to fill vacancies which often requires readvertising for posts, filling gaps with supply staff, and using non-subject specialists to teach classes.

"All of this adds to the workload and pressure on school and college leaders, as well as existing staff, and it puts at risk educational provision for children.

The data also show temporarily filled school staff positions increased from 2,247 in 2021 to 3,308 in 2022.

In Dudley, 16 jobs were temporarily filled – 12 were classroom teaching roles.

Overall, the 107 schools in the area had about 2,553 full-time teachers this academic year. It was an increase from 2,486 in 2021-22.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: "A great education does not happen by chance, and brilliant teachers shape children’s lives every day.

"In today’s competitive job market, it is fantastic to see so many people choosing a rewarding teaching career, with a record number of teachers now working in our schools.

"We know there is more to do, which is why we have generous bursaries to attract new trainees to teach priority subjects and are focusing on supporting new teachers from the very start of their journey with free, high-quality, ongoing professional development.”

However, Ian Hartwright, head of policy at the National Association of Head Teachers, accused ministers of being "in denial".

"No matter how government tries to spin it, today’s data shows that it is in denial over its failure to tackle the longstanding recruitment and retention crisis in teaching," he said.

"Without urgent action, more education professionals will sadly decide that what should be a rewarding career is not for them, and pupils’ education and life chances will inevitably suffer."