Schools are struggling with a shortage of supply teachers because replacement staff are being offered permanent contracts.
A survey of seven regional agencies that provide teachers to stand in when regular staff are off sick or to cover a vacancy found they are having to refuse requests earlier in the school year than ever before.
‘We had to turn down a request from a school in the first week of the year, which has never happened before,’ an administrator in Zeeland told NOS.
On average supply teacher agencies have lost a third of their personnel during the last school year, often as a result of schools offering permanent jobs to teachers who have stood in for a member of staff.
‘The continuity of education is in doubt because of this,’ said Joost Spijker, director of RTC Transvita, which supplies teaching cover to schools in Utrecht, Gelderland, Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland and saw 200 of its 500 teachers leave last year. ‘Some schools don’t even ask us any more because they know there’s only a very small chance that we can provide a replacement.’
Education minister Arie Slob pledged last week to invest an extra €21 million in addressing teacher shortages, partly by increasing opportunities for people in other professions to retrain.