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Computer science students without a teacher

Computer science students without a teacher

Thursday 09 February 2023

Computer science students without a teacher

Thursday 09 February 2023

GCSE students at St Sampson's High have been left without a computer science teacher after a new recruit due to start in January withdrew from their contract at the last minute.

Parents have complained to Education about the situation - with one dad saying his child did not have a regular computer science teacher last term and although they were assured the problem would be sorted in time for the start of this term, there still isn't a new teacher.

Parents have told Express that their children decided to switch subjects after the Michaelmas Term due to the ongoing problem.

Education, Sport and Culture recently confirmed that there has been an issue with recruitment and that it is not isolated to that subject or to Guernsey.

Liz Coffey, the Executive Principal of the Secondary School Partnership said staff are trying to control the situation despite setbacks. 

liz coffey

Pictured: Liz Coffey, the Executive Principal of the Secondary School Partnership.

"The majority of schools in Guernsey and in England, for example, are finding it difficult to recruit to specialist subjects like science or computer science, as there is a national teacher shortage in these areas. Our school leaders are doing all they can to manage a situation that is largely outside of their control; for example we had a specialist computer science teacher recruited and due to start a St Sampson’s High in January before they withdrew at very short notice just before the end of term in December."

Ms Coffey said she can understand how parents and pupils feel about the lack of continuity and specialist teaching, but she hopes they'll be reassured by the news a new teacher is now due to start work at St Sampson's High after Easter.

"We completely appreciate it being an issue largely out of school leaders’ control is of little comfort to students and parents who are understandably frustrated. The good news regarding St Sampson’s is we have, as of this week, just appointed someone to the role and they will be starting at the school after the Easter break. In the meantime the classes are being supported by a teacher who is an experienced member of our supply team and we have had some additional specialist support from a very experienced lecturer form the College of Further Education. We have communicated with parents to keep them informed and discuss options, and we continue to encourage parents to contact their child’s school leadership team if they have concerns. I know all the Principals share my commitment on that front."


Pictured: An Express report on school staffing from April last year.

Last year Express ran two articles, among many others focusing on education, looking at rising staff vacancies within our schools.

Year on year, the number of teachers leaving the sector in 2022 was up compared to the academic years 20/21, and 19/20.

At the end of April last year, ESC said 31 teachers had left or were due to leave States' secondary schools during that academic year. That was 16.6% of the total number of teachers in States' secondary schools at the time. 

That was up from 13.6% and 10.2% during the two previous academic years.

The problem wasn't just affecting secondary schools with vacancies across the primary sector growing too. 


Pictured: Express reported on teacher vacancies last summer.

At the end of last year's summer term, there were 24 teacher vacancies needing to be filled before lessons resumed in September.

ESC said at the time that it was "abnormal" to have so many unfilled vacancies in primary schools at that time of the year.

ESC said that usually "the number of applicants qualified to teach in the primary phase has outnumbered vacancies" but that did not happen last year.

Primary school teachers looking for new roles, including newly-qualified teachers, apply to the teachers' primary pool, from which they are matched to known vacancies - last year there were only 11 candidates, compared to 38 in 2018, and 53 in 2019.

The issue is not just a local one, with national vacancies also at an alarming high. 

The UK's Department of Education missed its own teacher recruitment targets in 2022 with overall numbers down 20%.


Primary schools see increase in unfilled teacher vacancies

Staff wellbeing tops Coffey's list

Firm commitment that teachers' jobs are safe

Teachers "seriously considered" quitting

Staff departures on the rise again


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