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With all the talk about teacher shortages it was interesting to see exactly how many new teachers have entered service in recent years. Sadly, the latest DFEE figures only cover the destination of Initial Teacher Training completers in 1998 who were in service by March 1999, nearly two years ago. That year there were some 19,120 new entrants to teaching. Of these, 17,300 qualified in England and a further 1,300 in Wales with the rest qualifying through the Open University or SCITT courses.

There were an additional 7,610 people who had qualified during 1998 but were not teaching by March 1999. This represented some 28 per cent of those who had completed their training as teachers. Some of these will have been working as supply teachers or as part-ime teachers not covered by the Pension Scheme from which the DFEE derive their data. A small number will be on VSO or otherwise teaching abroad and some will have stayed in higher education to do research degrees.

Although London has the greatest number of teaching vacancies, it also trains the largest number of teachers (3,950 in 1998). Of these, 2,810 teach in schools equally divided between primary and secondary schools.

Nearly half of the new teachers were under 25 when they started teaching and three quarters were under 30. Under one per cent were over 50 when they entered the classroom. Overall, women outnumbered men by three to one with the ratio in the secondary sector being two to one in favour of women.

John Howson

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