Applications for primary teacher training have dropped by almost 1,000 this month compared to the same time last year.
The statistics released by admissions body Ucas show that there were 20,560 applications for postgraduate teacher training courses by 21 January 2019, compared to 21,470 by 15 January 2018 – a drop of four per cent.
But secondary applications have risen by 8 per cent over the same period, from 21,010 in 2018 to 22,690 this year.
Applicants can make up to three applications, meaning that the number of actual people applying to start teacher training in September 2019 is lower than the total number applications.
There has been a slight rise in the overall number of applicants from 16,010 in January 2018 to 16,560 in January 2019. But there are still at least seven months left to recruit.
In 2018, official statistics showed that the total number of people starting postgraduate teacher training courses in September had risen to 29,255, up from 27,145 in 2017.
But while primary courses over-recruited against the government's target, the targets were missed in all secondary subjects except biology, PE, English and history.
Just 47 per cent of the physics trainee teachers needed began training in September 2018 and 25 per cent of the design and technology trainee teachers.
Bursaries for primary trainees, except primary maths specialists, ended in September 2018 and reforms this year mean that from September 2019 secondary trainees starting in RE, music, D&T and history with 2:2 degrees will get bursaries for the first time.
The Department for Education’s recruitment and retention plan launched earlier this week announced further reforms to the bursary system to introduce phased bursaries, where trainees will get about 40 per cent of the money awarded after teaching for a certain number of years.