Applicants for teacher training had more chance of being successful in 2017 than in the previous year, new statistics show.
The end-of-cycle figures from admissions body Ucas show that 59 per cent of applicants had a place on a teacher training course starting in September 2017 – compared to 56 per cent of those who applied in 2016.
But providers have suggested the change is not to do with any lowering of the bar to entry or of a change in the quality of candidates.
James Noble-Rogers, executive director of the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers, said the change in success rate could be due to providers being given more control over the overall numbers they took on in 2017.
“The more relaxed attitude to recruitment may have had an impact on these figures,” Mr Noble-Rogers said. “I don’t think there has been any lowering of the bar in 2017, because providers would have been hammered by Ofsted if they did.”
Applications in 2016 were affected by a national limit placed on the numbers of people that universities and schools could take onto their courses.
Today's stats figures show a slight increase in the number of applicants up from 46,000 in 2016 to 46,210 in 2017 - and the number of applicants who were successful rose from 25,950 in 2016 to 27,400 in 2017.
This was driven by a rise in primary applications, while the numbers applying to be secondary teachers fell.
Since then, there has been a drop in numbers applying for courses starting in September 2018, with the latest figures showing applications 19 per cent down compared to 2017.
This has led to the Department for Education now calling for providers to double-check their rejected candidates and changing the wording of the entry requirements so that universities and schools must now ensure that an entrant is suitable to “train to teach” rather than suitable “to teach”, which was the requirement in previous years.