Headteachers are struggling to recruit and retain staff with some having no interviewees for roles because candidates realise they can earn more stacking shelves. Teachers say cuts to budgets and promised staff pay rises – not funded by the Government – will put schools in a desperate situation.
Many will axe teaching assistant (TA) roles because inflation and energy costs are forcing people out.
That loss will remove support for some of the most vulnerable children.
Educational institution Think Teaching said the starting salary for teaching assistants is around £17,000.
And the University of Portsmouth’s Education Research, Innovation and Consultancy Unit said that chronic low pay was “an urgent threat to TAs’ livelihoods and to schools”.
Dr Rob Wester, who co-authored the report, said: “Schools are facing many challenges but the loss of teaching assistants is the most catastrophic.
“Without these staff, schools will struggle to provide adequate support to children with additional needs. Teacher workloads will skyrocket, driving yet more from the profession and deterring others from joining.”
Almost all of the TAs questioned for the report said their pay was not enough to cover their needs.
School leaders are now resorting to offering “wellbeing days” and more training to encourage TAs to stay.
A survey for the NASUWT union found 54 per cent were reducing their food shop while 40 per cent cut spending on household essentials.
One in 10 have taken on second jobs to make ends meet.
The survey of more than 10,000 teachers found that seven in 10 have considered quitting in the last 12 months, and nearly half cited pay as the reason.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders union NAHT, said: “The increases in energy bills for schools are extreme. Some have reported rises of over 300 per cent – the equivalent of several staff.
“Many schools finding the only possible action they can take is to cut staff hours – in particular for teaching assistants. The Government urgently needs to look at school funding.”