FEWER teachers are working at Dudley schools, new figures show.

Despite the school workforce across the country increasing slightly, thousands of teachers have left the state school sector.

The school leaders’ union NAHT called for the next government to commit to urgent action to address the “recruitment and retention crisis facing our schools”.

Department for Education figures show there were 2,536 teachers working at the 107 state-funded schools in Dudley as of November. This was down from 2,553 the year before.

Yet across England, the school workforce has increased “marginally” by around 300 teachers to 468,700. This includes some teachers without qualified teacher status.

The figures show around 44,000 qualified teachers joined the school workforce, down 3,900 from the number of joiners the year before. Meanwhile, 43,500 qualified teachers left the state school sector.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary at NAHT, said: “These alarming figures are stark evidence of the recruitment and retention crisis facing our schools and the need for whoever forms the next government to commit to urgent action to address this.

He said there are 18,000 more pupils in schools this year, while fewer new teachers have joined compared to previous years.

He added that teacher vacancies are causing difficulties delivering the full curriculum, with subjects taught by non-specialists and supply teachers.

Teacher vacancies in state schools in England have more than doubled in the past three years, reaching an all-time high of 2,800 in November.

In Dudley schools, 16 teaching roles needed to be filled – up from 11 the year before. Of these, 14 were for classroom teachers.

There were also 19 positions that were temporarily filled.

Pepe Di’Iasio, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “What these figures show, and what all school and colleges leaders know only too well, is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to fill teacher vacancies.

“Often this requires advertising roles several times and making use of supply staff in the intervening period, all of which has a financial cost attached.”

He added: “Teachers are the education system’s most precious resource and the next government cannot afford to be so complacent.

“We need a comprehensive plan to address the recruitment and retention crisis and ensure schools and colleges can attract and retain the teachers they need to maintain a high standard of education for all pupils.”

Classroom teachers’ median pay in Dudley saw an increase of five per cent since 2022, reaching £43,700. However, this was slightly less than the average for England, which was £43,800.

The DfE said: “The number of teachers entering and leaving service both fell though the number of entrants continues to be higher than for leavers.

“This, combined with changes in working patterns and an increase in unqualified teachers, resulted in a marginal increase to the number of teachers in England.”