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Kent's teacher shortage 'not acute'

KENT is not facing a serious teacher shortages, according to Kent County Council.

The authority insists that while some schools are still struggling to fill job vacancies, there is no cause for concern.

Teacher shortages forced a handful of Kent secondary schools to bring in four-day weeks for a short period last term. At the same time, teacher unions balloted on industrial action.

However, Kent County Council said a concerted drive over the summer to boost recruitment meant the number of unfilled vacancies stood at about 100. In June, an estimated 622 vacancies had not been filled.

It also pointed out that such a figure was low when considered against the 13,000-strong complement of teachers in the county's 600-plus schools.

News that the problem of teacher shortages in Kent appears to have receded coincides with a claim by the chief inspector of schools Mike Tomlinson that the recruitment crisis was the worst he had known in 30 years.

Meanwhile, a survey suggested headteachers regarded as many as one fifth of teachers taking up posts at the start of the school year were "not up to the job."

KCC Labour education spokesman Cllr Mattwheatcroft said he was impressed by Kent's efforts but warned: "The problem in Kent will be that there are pockets where schools with problems will find it much harder to recruit staff."

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