There is a growing teacher shortage crisis in schools. I know from talking to parents, carers and teachers on visits and at my regular school gate surgeries that teachers are dedicated professionals who want to do their best.
However, new figures from the House of Commons Library show that here in the North West applications to become a teacher are over 1,000 down on last year.
Across the country, between November 2013 and November 2014 a total of 49,120 teachers left the profession – an increase of 3,480 teachers on the previous year.
In fact, this year more teachers quit than actually entered the profession.
Yet official figures reveal that the country will need nearly 160,000 additional teachers over the next three years. On current trends, there could be a shortfall of 65,000 applicants over this period.
On top of this, student numbers continue to grow – with a projected 582,000 more primary and secondary-age students in our schools by 2020 – requiring thousands more teachers just to maintain class sizes at their current level.
This is a crisis made in Downing Street. Schools are increasingly struggling to fill key posts as a result of the actions of this government.
Ministers have done down the teaching profession, piling pressure and bureaucracy on teachers and leaving good teachers frustrated, demoralised and feeling unsupported.
Labour have been listening to school leaders and warning of a growing crisis in teacher recruitment and retention for years yet Ministers have had their heads in the sand.
The government needs to take urgent action to end this shortage so pupils don’t pay the price.
Great teachers do an amazing job and we should do all we can to keep good teachers in the classroom not walking away.