As the teacher vacancies crisis roars on, Watford has been found to be the location with the biggest teacher shortages, according to new data. 


The research, collated by education software specialist, The Access Group, analysed 2022 Census data on the number of teachers and compared this with the number of current teaching vacancies, to find out which of England’s 50 biggest towns and cities had the least number of teachers available per vacancy.


Watford had the biggest teacher shortages with only 16.6 potential teachers per vacancy, while Milton Keynes followed in second (23.4 teachers per vacancy) and Luton placed third (23.6 teachers per vacancy). 


Out of the top 10 areas with the biggest teacher shortages, eight were located in the South of England, implying this is the region where the teacher vacancies crisis is felt the most.


On the other end of the scale, Telford in Shropshire, held the fewest teacher shortages, with 934 teachers available per vacancy – over 56 times higher than Watford.


The findings follow the news that teacher vacancies in England alone have nearly doubled since before Covid, according to a report by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). 


Top ten areas with the highest teacher shortages


City Number of teachers per city Number of teaching vacancies Number of teachers per vacancy
Watford 913 55 16.6
Milton Keynes 3107 133 23.4
Luton 2293 97 23.6
Reading 1520 62 24.5
Oxford 1173 43 27.3
Poole 633 18 35.2
Cambridge 981 27 36.3
Derby 767 18 42.6
Slough 1969 45 43.8
Huddersfield 808 17 47.5


Top ten areas with the best access to teachers


City Number of teachers per city Number of teaching vacancies* Number of teachers per vacancy
Telford 934 1 934.0
Colchester 1824 2 912.0
Liverpool 4553 6 758.8
Blackpool 1244 3 414.7
Stoke-on-Trent 2298 7 328.3
Warrington 1942 6 323.7
Coventry 3491 11 317.4
Leicester 3454 11 314.0
London 81006 288 281.3
Southend-on-Sea 1916 7 273.7


Ex-teacher and Digital Content Manager at Access Education Richard Newsome commented: 


“The rising number of teacher vacancies is continuing to cause concern in the education sector, with Headteachers warning that the UK is now facing a ‘dangerous’ teacher shortage as the recruitment crisis deepens.


“We’re seeing this ring true in schools up and down the UK – even in areas which have the least shortages in comparison to others. In turn, school leaders have been increasingly forced to use non-specialist teachers, which threatens to drive down pupil attainment and impacts on the quality of students’ learning. 


“Various solutions have been proposed, ranging from incentives like Labour’s proposal to give teachers £2,400 in the early stages of their career, to a greater management of staff, facilitated by technologies like school HR software. The way forward must be a multi-faceted approach, which tackles the problem from every angle.”


Commenting on the data, secondary school teacher Adam Speight, added:


“Since the pandemic, the teacher vacancies crisis has dramatically intensified. At a time when teacher burnout is already causing significant stress, a shrinking workforce risks exacerbating this as remaining teachers have to pick up further workloads, often without the proper capacity to do so. 


“Teacher pay, support for mental health and workload are all factors which need to be improved upon, in addition to meaningful action to reduce unnecessary pressures, such as the heavy administrative burden which so often falls upon teachers and school business and finance managers.”


To view the full research, featuring the ranking of England’s biggest towns and cities, visit https://www.theaccessgroup.com/en-gb/blog/edu-which-areas-in-england-have-the-biggest-teacher-shortages/