The number of full-time equivalent secondary teachers has dropped for the sixth year in a row, according to Department for Education statistics published today.
The news came on the day that pupil numbers in secondary were shown to have risen for the fifth year in a row. Pupil numbers are up by 5 per cent compared with five years ago.
The figures show 203,686 full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers working in state-funded secondary schools in November 2018 down from 204,248 in November 2017, a fall of 0.3 per cent.
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Teacher numbers in primary and nursery schools have risen slightly from 221,145 in November 2017 to 222,143 in November 2018 – and rises in the numbers working in special schools and those centrally employed mean that the overall number of FTE teachers in state-funded schools has risen by 0.3 per cent to 453,411.
The statistics show that the number of new entrants to teaching exceeded the number leaving. But the equivalent of 3,000 FTE teachers were lost through teachers reducing their hours – either by going part time, or if already part time, by working fewer hours.
The statistics also show that there were 1,725 vacancies or temporarily filled posts in November 2018, up from 1,693 in November 2017 – but the vacancy rate has dropped from 1.1 per cent of all posts to 1 per cent.
Minister for school standards Nick Gibb said: "The number of teachers in our schools remains high, with more than 453,000 now working in schools across the country to inspire the next generation of young people.
"Last year also saw an additional 34,500 new trainee teachers recruited, despite an extremely competitive labour market and the lowest levels of unemployment for decades, showing that teaching continues to be an attractive profession.
“We do recognise there is more to do to continue to attract and retain talented individuals in our classrooms, which is why we launched the first-ever teacher recruitment and retention strategy earlier this year.
"This landmark strategy included the biggest teaching reform in a generation – the Early Career Framework – providing the solid foundations for a successful career in teaching, backed by at least £130 million a year in extra funding when fully rolled out.”