One in 10 places on secondary teaching courses unfilled

But some subjects exceeded student-teacher recruitment targets in Scotland – as did primary-teaching courses

Emma Seith

Teacher training: One in 10 places on secondary teaching courses in Scotland unfilled

While more than 100 extra primary teaching students were recruited by Scottish universities this academic year, recruitment to secondary teacher education courses failed to hit its target, new Scottish government figures show.

The target set for recruitment to primary teaching courses was 1,934 but, ultimately, an extra 139 students were recruited, taking the total intake to 2,073 students.

However, while the goal was to recruit 2,136 secondary teachers, that target was missed, with the total intake reported by universities as 1,926 – around 90 per cent of the target.


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The secondary subjects that were oversubscribed included art, biology, business education, drama, Gaelic, geography, history, music and PE.

Teacher training targets: The hard-to-fill subjects

Psychology hit its target and the 10 remaining subjects were undersubscribed: chemistry, computing, English, home economics, maths, modern languages, modern studies, physics, religious education, and technological education.

The subjects that proved hardest to recruit to were chemistry (67 per cent of places filled); physics (70 per cent filled); technological education (72 per cent filled), and maths (75 per cent filled).

The Scottish government figures were published as plans were revealed to ensure that student teachers can complete their initial teacher education, given the “severely interrupted year” they have faced due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance  which can be found summarised here  allows student teachers to gain provisional registration, with 55 per cent of the school-placement experience usually required. It also allows students to use remote teaching to contribute towards their practical experience – but only up to a maximum of 20 per cent of the number of days required.  

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Emma Seith

Emma Seith

Emma Seith is a reporter for TES Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Emma_Seith

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