Drop in numbers starting teacher training – and six other findings from today's training census

24th November 2016 at 11:17
The 2 per cent fall in entrants to teacher-training courses comes as headteachers say that the recruitment crisis is one of their biggest challenges

Fewer people started training to be teachers this year, with recruitment problems hitting many secondary school subjects, official figures released this morning show.

But primary recruitment was on target, according to the initial teacher-training census for 2016-17, which also shows better news for science subjects. However, maths fell further behind its recruitment target.

The publication comes amid continuing concern among education leaders about a teacher recruitment crisis, particularly affecting key subjects such as maths and science.

'Shortfall worse in non-EBacc subjects'

Here are seven key findings from today's figures:

  1. The number of new entrants into postgraduate initial teacher training fell by 2 per cent, from 27,761 in 2015-16 to 27,229 last year. That meant there were 2,000 fewer trainees than government estimates said were needed.
  2. The problem centres on secondary schools, where the recruitment level was at 89 per cent of its target, compared with 100 per cent for primary teachers – although this itself was a fall from 112 per cent last year.
  3. English Baccalaureate subjects at secondary school experienced an overall 5 per cent under-recruitment, with 11,853 recruited, compared with the 12,541 needed. Biology, physics and chemistry recruited a higher proportion of their target than last year – although biology was the only one of these to exceed its target, at 115 per cent. Maths and English both fell, from 95 per cent to 84 per cent and 105 per cent to 98 per cent, respectively. These figures disguised the fact that 153 more people started training in maths. However, because the target rose by 521, recruitment fell further below its target. Among other EBacc subjects, history and geography exceeded their recruitment targets, at 112 per cent and 116 per cent respectively.
  4. The secondary school shortfall was worse in non-EBacc subjects, where recruitment stood at 75 per cent of the target. Design and technology suffered the most, only recruiting to 41 per cent of its target. This was similar to last year.
  5. More trainees are going through the school-led routes – 56 per cent of the total in 2016-17, compared with 51 per cent the year before.
  6. New trainees remain highly qualified. The proportion of entrants to postgraduate programmes with a first or 2:1 in their degree was 74 per cent, similar to the 75 per cent last year.
  7. The proportion of men training to be primary school teachers continued to fall, from 23 per cent in 2012-13 to 20 per cent this year.

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