Men are also becoming a rarer species in the classroom, with the proportion of male secondary trainees falling from 43 per cent to 36 per cent since 1999, and stalling at 13 per cent in primary for the past four years.
The overall number of recruits was up 11.9 per cent in primary and 2 per cent in secondary in 20001, according to the latest figures from the Teacher Training Agency. But maths and science fell by 7 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively.
Maths, science and foreign language students also tended to be less well qualified than colleagues in other subjects, according to analysis by Professor Alan Smithers and Dr Pamela Robinson, of Liverpool University.
For example, 54 per cent of maths students graduated with upper second class or better degrees - but only 38 per cent of those going into teacher training had good degrees. That has improved from 33 per cent in 1999 but it compares poorly with other subjects: in 20001, 64 per cent of history and 62 per cent of new English teachers had upper seconds or better.
Oxford University continues to top the training table, with able recruits, top marks from inspectors and a good record of trainees progressing to teaching.
Big improvers include Leeds Metropolitan University, which in 1999 was bottom of the first table; the non-profit Centre for British Teachers; and two school-based providers, Gloucestershire ITE partnership and Titan Partnership.
Meanwhile, the bottom-ranked Association of Muslim Schools has closed its school-based training, citing high costs . Inspectors have given its courses low, but not failing, grades.
Other, larger providers, including universities, have complained that funding - averaging pound;3,673 per student - is not enough to pay schools taking students on placements and to recruit good quality trainers, who can now earn more in senior positions in schools.