QUALITY teachers are quitting Oxfordshire schools after being priced out of the county's housing market, a report has confirmed.

Concerns about a recruitment crisis in classrooms have been compounded in new research by Oxfordshire County Council's education scrutiny committee.

Councillors visited a handful of schools to investigate why disadvantaged pupils are not catching up academically with their peers, and staff said holding onto teachers was a key issue.

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Their report, discussed at a meeting on Wednesday, said: "Schools report that recruitment of new teachers can be challenging, and that particularly after ‘growing their own’ and developing excellent teachers in their schools, they often then leave as the lack of Oxford salary-weighting makes house-buying unaffordable.

"The same housing costs that pull families into poverty also impact the retention of excellent teachers in Oxfordshire, depriving children of that expertise which has been locally nurtured.

"This disproportionately affects the experiences of vulnerable and disadvantaged children, for whom having continuity of excellent teachers through their learning may be the only aspect of stability and aspiration in their lives."

The problem is true of other key workers in the county, including healthcare staff.

Last year, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust lodged planning applications to expand and redevelop 144 key worker flats in Oxford, for staff at the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals.

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Lloyds Bank's annual affordable cities review is expected to be released this month, which compares house prices to earnings.

Oxford often ranks as the least affordable in the UK.

It maintained that unwanted title last year, when Lloyds found the average house price of £460,184 was more than 12 times the average annual earnings of £36,430.

In the committee report released this week, councillors agreed to ask the council's property services what they can proactively do regarding the 'challenge of accommodation for teachers'.

The report suggested: "Collaboration with district councils, universities, dioceses and businesses might be explored around supporting accommodation access for teachers in the county as an educational priority, due to its potential impact on attainment for the most vulnerable children in the county."

The concerns were part of a wider report discussed at a meeting of the same committee at County Hall.

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Chairman Michael Waine said at the meeting: "[The issue] is going to be taken up by the performance scrutiny committee, in a more general sense.

"It will not be specific [to teachers] because of the other key workers who are just as important."

The report cited one 'innovative' example of a solution as Oxford Diocesan Schools Board's six teacher flats at the Community of St Mary the Virgin.

The Wantage convent opened the one-bedroom flats in 2018, offering affordable rent especially for newly-qualified teachers.

Speaking at the time of the launch, the diocese said many teachers find accommodation costs in Oxfordshire 'excessive' and hailed the flats as an 'innovative step forward'.