Teacher numbers continue to fall

Written by: Simon Doyle | Published:

The number of teachers in Northern Ireland secondary schools has fallen for the seventh year in a row.

There are now 5,278 full-time teaching staff in non-grammar post-primary schools in the North, new Department of Education figures show. In 2011 there were 6,022 and the number has been falling every year since.

Most are working in Catholic maintained secondaries (2,532) while the second largest group is in the state-controlled sector (1,846).

The Teacher Workforce Statistics in Grant-Aided Schools bulletin also shows the age of staff. The majority in secondary education are aged between 35 and 44. Just 76 in non-grammar schools are aged 24 and under while 120 are at least 60. The median age of teachers is 41.5 years, an increase from 41 in 2013/14. There are proportionally fewer teachers aged under-30 this year (11.1 per cent) than in 2013/14 (11.9).

The proportion of teachers working in all schools who are male has been declining over the last five years. There are more than twice as many female teachers in post-primary classrooms than there are males – 3,963 compared to 1,616. These figures include part-time staff.

Males, however, continue to hold most headteachers’ positions in secondary schools – 53.3 per cent compared to 46.7 per cent.

A separate bulletin published by the department contains statistics on teacher vacancies, sickness absence and substitution cover.

The average number of days lost per-teacher due to sickness in all schools was 9.3. This represents a decrease of 0.2 days from the previous year.

This rose to 9.9 days among secondary teachers alone. This was not the largest, however, with staff in peripatetic units losing 15.8 on average.


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