Watford is the UK's worst area for teacher shortages, new data has revealed, with "ongoing difficulties" plaguing the area.

Research has found there are not enough qualified teachers to fill "rising" vacancies in the borough, according to The Access Group, an education software specialist.

It compared Watford to 49 other big towns and cities nationwide, before Hertfordshire County Council confirmed the local struggles.

A spokesperson for the local authority said on the whole Herts does "relatively well" compared to other regions, but added: "We are very aware of the ongoing recruitment and retention issues for the UK education sector in general, and Watford in particular, with ongoing difficulties recruiting not just teachers but also school support staff.”

There are 913 teachers in Watford and 55 vacancies, which averages at 16.6 staff to fill the empty roles, according to The Access Group.

Watford Observer:

Hertfordshire County Council said its recruitment platform has seen a “a significant increase” in the number of vacancies advertised since the pandemic.

It also claims the shortage is linked to “fewer graduates” going into the teaching profession.

Vacancies of school support staff are down to “competition from other sectors”, the local authority added, which is “putting pressure on pay”.

Hertfordshire as a whole has seen a rise in teaching job vacancies, with the recruitment platform teachinginherts.com having over 10,000 adverts posted in 2022 compared to around 6,000 pre-Covid.

Barhey Singh, a National Education Union representative, said: “Many schools are struggling to cope at the moment and there are many aspects which affect this, from not having enough ECTs (early career teachers), the cost of living and teachers pay, as well as the quality of life for teachers.

“Teaching is a rewarding career but is difficult when there isn’t enough support for already qualified teachers as well as ECTs.”

Watford is the only Hertfordshire town or city to be included in the top ten list of areas with the highest teacher shortages.