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Over half of NQTs are jobless

News | Published in TES Newspaper on 1 October, 2010 | By: Kerra Maddern

Questions are raised about training intake and schools’ use of instructors

The number of new teachers who fail to find permanent work after completing initial training has more than doubled in just one year, official figures have revealed.

More than half - 52 per cent - of the 33,350 newly qualified teachers who finished training in 2009 had not started their induction years by the end of March 2010.

Last year the figure was just 20 per cent.

The dramatic rise - published by the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) - has prompted worries that too many teachers are being trained and raised the prospect of places being slashed.

There are also concerns that 10,000 unqualified instructors are also now registered with the GTC, adding to competition for jobs.

Newly trained teachers become fully qualified only after completing their induction year.

During that time they have a reduced timetable, receive extra support and further training run by their local authority.

John Howson, teacher recruitment expert and managing director of Education Data Surveys, a sister company of The TES, said: “Is it right that we are training large numbers of people who in the current climate won’t go into jobs?

“This is public money being spent on people who might not necessarily go into the public sector.

“It’s alarming so many people have not found a permanent job in order to start their induction period. There needs to be a review of how close the relationship between training and the workplace should be - school-based courses have a far higher employment rate.”

Professor Howson also questioned whether unqualified instructors are taking jobs which should have gone to NQTs. “The new Government should look very closely at the employment practices of schools,” he said. “Instructors should only be taken on when they can’t find someone qualified to do the job.”

Ian Abbott, associate professor at Warwick University’s Institute of Education, said the employment rate seemed “very low”.

“We expect significantly more of our students to go on to employment, although it’s getting more difficult - it’s a competitive market out there,” he said.

The figures follow the news that the number of all teachers claiming jobseeker’s allowance has risen by 75 per cent to 4,580 in the past two years.

New teachers studying on the job at school-centred initial teacher training courses are more likely to get jobs than those who do a PGCE or other university course.

Last year, 90 per cent of students from 16 school centres entered teaching; only two universities achieved the same figures - Cambridge and Birmingham.

Recent research by Professor Alan Smithers at Buckingham University found employment rates among new teachers were particularly low in modern languages, physics, citizenship, chemistry and religious education. Classics, PE and history had the highest proportions taking up teaching posts.

More newly qualified teachers are going straight into supply work - 14 per cent, up 3 per cent from 2009.

A spokeswoman for the Training and Development Agency for Schools said: “Some NQTs delay going into employment, may not have found a job, or have decided not to pursue a teaching career. Others may be working in a part of the profession where GTC registration is not required such as the independent sector, further or higher education.”


  • 48.4% - 2010
  • 79.7% - 2009
  • 82% - 2008
  • 81.8% - 2007
  • 83.3% - 2006

* By the end of March

Source: GTC.

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Comment (23)

  • In regards to instructors, I have 4 within my department. All doing an amazing job at teaching our vocational qualifications, not sure you'd get many NQTs teaching Hair and Beauty or Construction. 3 of the four are training to become qualified teachers. So lets not make suggestions that instructor rightly registering for the GTC are an issue here. Schools aren’t employing science and math instructors; they are simply increasing the breath of their curriculum
    Let’s face it universities want more bums on seats to make more cash at the same time we have a recession where professionals are looking for a stable job in a volatile economy. Its hardly rocket science more simple supply and demand.

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    Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    1 October, 2010


  • If so many physics and chemistry NQTs are jobless, might I ask why, for the last few weeks, I've been seeing a prominent advert by" iteach" in New Scientist. It specifically pushes maths, chemistry and physics, and says that bursaries of £13,000 are available.

    Maybe there's a shortage of maths teachers (though I'm not so sure), but for the other two subjects why, in these austere times, should the tax payer be expected to fund surplices?

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    1 October, 2010

    David Getling

  • It is amazing that the previous two commentators are teachers considering that they have little command of the English language.

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    1 October, 2010


  • I didn't realise the Christian churches' surplices were paid for by the taxpayer. I think they should be made to buy their own frocks.

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    1 October, 2010


  • It would be interesting to see this broken down into :

    Primary teachers
    Secondary teachers (others)
    Secondary teachers (Maths, Science specialists)

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    2 October, 2010


  • I am very pleased to know that there are people still wanting to train and work in the teaching Prfession.

    I am, however concerned that in my last SEVEN interviews over the past 9 months EVERY post has gone to an NQT. Three of them had not completed their year after PGCE or B.Ed

    My concerns are many but here's just 2 of my top ones.

    Several SLT members have told me post-interview day that the final choice was made with budget in mind. The difference between my own MPS-6 plus a good TLR and the average NQT pay-point is sometimes as much as TWO department budgets for 12 months.

    Maybe easier in the short term, but as one school took on 8 different teachers in the post since I was unsuccesful back in January of this year imagine the expense of arranging cover, SLT & other staff off-timetable as well as the disruption to pupils' ongoing lessons. Consostency? Seems to have the consistency of school custard...

    INEXPERIENCE, but "BUSY" teachers employed over VERY EXPERIENCED but "easier-going" teacher.

    In 2 jobs for which I was interviewed I was told there was barely a "hair between the candidates". However, the candidates who were appointed [both NQT, only 1 had completed their training] only actually stayed in post for TWO weeks and the other remained for FOUR DAYS.

    When I heard about this I contacted the schools. Both had decided to fill the post internally.


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    2 October, 2010


  • I teach in an international school in the Middle East. This year we have had quite a few NQTs joining the teaching staff because they cannot get jobs in the UK. The situation in Scotland seems to be particularly bad. I am not sure that a move into international teaching is the perfect solution if you are an unemployed NQT. Then again, do you have much choice?

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    3 October, 2010

    the hippo

  • In the 52% category myself, unfortunately.

    Despite the fact that this may sound self-defeating, I find it staggering that NQT's are offered jobs over experienced teachers. I agree and sympathise with CatpainCohen's summary above - even if a teacher is on MPS-6 (and TLR1), I would want them for what they could bring to the school and would find a way of paying them the "extra".

    I remember one of my instructors saying to me last year:
    -> "You build your school around good people [i.e. staff]".

    He had been HoD of a medium/large secondary math's department for a number of years prior to being invited into ITT training, so I'd like to believe his opinion was common among SLT. That being the case, why are SLT inviting inexperienced - and possibly unreliable (according to CaptainCohen) - teaching staff into their schools?

    AN IDEA:
    I haven't given this a huge amount of thought (so if the idea needs shooting down, please do so nicely) but would there be merit in teachers being paid by a central Government body?

    Yes, I know this potentially flies in the face of (business-run) academies regulating their staff's pay. (Academies are another can of worms, which I won't open.)

    The upshot would be that if a school wanted to hire a more experienced member of staff whose wage bill was higher they could; because they wouldn't be paying the bill. Also it could serve to alleviate the need for full time "business managers" (tut) in, uh, schools.

    A downshot (if that's a word) might be "performance management" of staff. Pay would be more contingent on experience rather than a teacher's improving competence and quality.

    Are there are other downsides?

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    4 October, 2010


  • That is why the NQT induction period needs to be scrapped, how can the govrnment and nation afford to spend so much money on training teachers, just to consign them to the scrap heap. It is a national disgrace, when you consider the number of unqualified teaching, despite not being trained to teach. Even the instructor rule is being broken, with schools people with degrees and calling them instructors, te rule was designed for subjects which had no teachers trained to teach lke wood work or Health and Social care, not for people with degrees in English, Science, etc. The rule states that the school should recruit a teacher and only use an instructor, when there are not teachers available. Yet despite there being enough unemployed teachers available to do the job, yet they are still recruiting instructors with degrees, in which there are teachers available to do the job.. It is putting money before education.

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    4 October, 2010


  • Baius, the IDEA doesn't needed shooting down. It needs implementing!

    This is exactly what is done in New Zealand.

    The only caveat is that the government decides how many teachers a school should have. However, I very much doubt that [for example] schools are employing 3 NQTs instead of 2 experienced teachers in order to have 3 classes of 20 instead of 2 classes of 30.

    The hippo's comment about international schools is interesting. Two such schools have told me that they have been inundated with applications. I wouldn't be surprised if many were from NQTs from the UK.

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    4 October, 2010

    David Getling

  • I completed my 3 year BEd course 2 years ago and have filled the time since with supply work and temporary positions (sickness cover etc), none of which has enabled me to complete my 1 year induction period.

    Why are there still so many places being offered at teaching universities and colleges when myself and so many other teachers, whether NQTs or more experienced, are struggling to find permanent positions?

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    4 October, 2010


  • I would be interested to know how many NQTs have sought work elsewhere rather than go into teaching.

    One recent student we have had was excellent but was so overwhelmed by the stress of her final practice that she did not seek a job in teaching (in fact she'd been offered one but did not take it). She went to work for an estate agent's. Another A grade student we had chose to work part-time.

    I noted the comment above about two NQTs leaving their post within weeks. Perhaps a significant proportion of the 52% are of similar mind to theses examples?

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    4 October, 2010


  • I know a school where an Instructor teaches French and Spanish...never advertised the post filled in internally to a native speaker of French who was a TA

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    4 October, 2010


  • I so agree with Captain Cohen.
    I had similar problems applying for Primary posts where the person taken on was inevitably an NQT without much experience, over me - a MPS on Threshold 2 - more expensive!
    I hate this choosing budget over experience! I'm sure that the NQT's are marvellous teachers and rightly deserve the job, but in some cases the experienced teacher would be more useful. 2 instances of this is when filling exam class posts such as Y2 and Y6 in Primary and Yrs 10-13 in KS4 and 5. I have also noted jobs I applied for, given to an NQT who subsequently has left the job because 'they can't cope.' Finally, and by no means least, what about the children who need experienced teaching in those areas mentioned above ? That's what we are all here for isn't it ?

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    5 October, 2010

    Anjana Clark

  • The government take necessary steps , sot that they can promote the trained teachers to have a permanent work.

    [url=]cheap cars[/url]

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    8 October, 2010


  • i have just started teacher training and reading the recent data is very worrying i am concerened that there wont be a job at the end. I went to a TDA teacher recriutment day and was told that there were pleanty of jobs for NQT and that it would be the case for a number of years to come that was back in 2009. It may be that they are trying to replace experienced staff with NQT to make it cheaper for them?? I think there should be a good balance of NQT and experienced teachers and stop training student teachers who only start the course because its all being paid for them. I am having to pay for the full course tuition fees and try and earn some money when i can as well as attend uni do placements etc i really want to be a primary teacher and get annoyed at those who do not stick it out, the drop out rate for courses has been rising which i think means the interview stages are not selecting the right candidates in the first place.

    Rant over

    Has anybody left the UK to teach as a NQT leaving family behind as a temporary measure e.g. just 12months i would like to find out how they did it and was it worth doing. Also can you get your NQT induction year done in none UK schools?

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    8 October, 2010


  • Perhaps the problem is there are NQTs in the areas where they are not teacher shortages, while in the areas teachers are needed there are not as many training facilities?

    There are over 130 openings for English teachers in the UK, surely some of these positions are going to NQTs

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    13 October, 2010


  • An interesting slant on the statistics from Professor Howson -'Is it right that we are training large numbers of people who in the current climate won’t go into jobs?'. Let's be clear about these numbers. The 'Annual Digest of Statistics 2009-10' from the GTCE reports on P56 (as stated in the article) that 48.4% of newly qualified teachers had started induction on or before the census date. However, he fails to point out that 72.1% were registered and recorded as being in service on the census date. I would suggest that this is about teachers being employed by schools but not registered for induction - the issue is much whether schools are playing fast and loose with NQT teachers and either employing them in positions in which they cannot complete their induction year, or, worse, not registering them for induction as they are legally required to. This is the issue that needs to be pursued, not that there are over 50% not in jobs. Shame on you.

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    26 October, 2010


  • A few facts to contradict the argument that too many teachers are being trained:
    1. There are 37,000 trainee teachers this year.
    2. 80 per cent are studying on university PGCE courses.
    3. Only 2 per cent will enter teaching through the Teach First scheme.
    4. This year’s Good Teacher Training Guide reported that just 71 per cent of teacher trainees in 2008/09 were in any kind of teaching six months later.

    The 71% mentioned above covers those who drop out during the course or are removed as teaching is not suitable for them. The evidence clearly shows that large numbers of trainee's are needed each year to replace those lost to the profession. A quick calculation of 71% of the 80% of the 37,000 comes to over 21,000 trainee teachers NEEDED just to maintain the status quo each year.

    The idea that somehow teacher training is producing an endless over-supply of teachers is simply a myth and not supported by evidence. End of story. This anti-teacher-training propaganda is part of Michael Goves attempt to transfer the training of teachers from university PGCE's to school based programmes. He wants to close university education departments & cannot do this while using current actual evidence.

    Having seen the myths created around the civil service involving over-paid, under-worked staff with gold plated pensions before the ConDem's sacked 500,000 civil servants; I just hope the public are getting wise to the tactics about to be employed in the education sector!

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    11 November, 2010

    Brooke Bond

  • More current evidence.
    1. The TDA are very good at planning how many teachers are required each year and only fund that number of places for ITE providers one year in advance.
    2. Every week in the TES employment section there ARE jobs. There are 258 this week on a rather 'slow' week.

    By the way the TDA are on Mr.Goves Quango-hit-list and if they are assassinated like the GTC it really will be the Wild West in terms of training teachers..........................Who'll ensure quality? Will a teacher in trained in school A be accepted for a job in school B? Who'll match demand to supply, especially in shortage subjects like Maths & Physics? If markets are allowed to dictate 'price' will we see the 'price' of Maths & Physics teachers rise due to a current shortage or the 'price' of English teachers fall due to a glut? (Education is not & never has been a market; the sooner our politicians realise this the better for all of us.)

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    11 November, 2010

    Brooke Bond

  • Well said Brooke Bond. I also find it troubling that TES's TheoGriff posted the misleading statistic that 80% of 2009 & 2010's combines ITT graduates were unemployed.

    However, can you explain the 31% decrease in NQTs in induction in 2010 to 2009? Could a further reason be the stats are 'by the end of March'. i.e. For the 2010 cohort, it should be measured in March 2011 & the articlewas written in Oct 2010??

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    11 January, 2011


  • Brroke Bond I wish what you said were true.

    I went to look around a rural primary school yesterday and found myself in a group of 20. There were 37 the previous day. The head said he expected to receive over 100 applications.

    I'm an NQT with a year's supply experience and I'm yet to even get an interview. I trained at a top training provider and my application has been checked by the head and my training provider. Help!

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    5 October, 2012


  • *Brooke

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    5 October, 2012


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