Recently, the Department for Children, Schools and Families published a little bit of history. Statistics finally appeared for the number of trainees who gained QTS in 2007 and were employed in teaching by March 2008. This was before the recession, back in the days of relatively full employment. Of the 36,550 trainees in England and Wales who gained QTS in 2007, 28,270 were working as teachers by March 2008, with more than 10,000 employed in the primary sector, and 14,000 in secondary schools.
This left 22 per cent who could not find a job, did not want to be a teacher, had set off travelling or taken another career decision, such as to continue studying. The highest percentage of those not in teaching were trainees from Wales (32 per cent). Less than half were working in schools in Wales with the others having to move to England. Other regions with above average percentages were the North East at 24 per cent, and London, where 27 per cent weren't in the classroom.
Trainees from employment-based routes and school-centred initial teacher training had only 16 per cent missing from the classroom compared with 24 per cent from trainees on higher education courses. Many of these missing teachers will eventually find work in the profession after a delay, but the heartache and disillusion of training and not being able to find a job can only be imagined. This is because the control of training by the Government is supposed to balance supply and demand rather than waste money on training more teachers than needed.
John Howson is director of Education Data Surveys, part of TSL Education.