MORE than 80,000 people in England hold a teaching qualification but have never taught in schools.
A staggering 83,400 dropped out before using their training, and 296,200 teachers under 60 have taught but no longer do so.
The Government figures, revealed by the Secondary Heads Association, underline the scale of the problem facing ministers as they seek to stem the tide of staff quitting.
Last year, chief inspector Mike Tomlinson said that 40 per cent of new teachers dropped out within five years.
John Dunford, SHA general secretary, said the figures were "staggering". He said the Government bore responsibility for turning people off teaching by its "cynical" manipulation of the media.
Education minister Margaret Hodge admitted to last week's SHA conference that the Government faced a challenge recruiting graduates. She said: "Our ability to attract returners is falling and our reliance on supply teachers ... increasing."
Liberal Democrat spokesman Phil Willis wants the fast- track scheme for high-flying young teachers to be axed and the cash used to pay people who have left the profession up to pound;500 to register with the General Teaching Council.