The number of teachers working in nursery, primary and secondary schools in England exceeded 400,000 for the first time earlier this year. Department for Education and Employment statistics showed that there were 402,135 full-time equivalent teachers working in maintained schools in England this January.
This was an increase of about 6,000 over the previous year and 12,000, or a rise of 3 per cent, from the low point reached in 1994.
Some of the rise was due to an increase in the number of pupils, particularly in nursery and secondary schools, but some resulted from the Government's class size reduction policy that has capped key-stage 1 classes at a maximum of 30 pupils.
The DFEE, together with the National Assembly in Wales, has estimatedthat, including regular supply teachers, more than 458,000 teachers were at work in maintained schools in England and Wales on the census day this January.
A further 57,000 teachers are thought to be working in schools in the independent sector. In total, therefore, there are now more than half-a-million teachers working in schools in England and Wales.
Curiously, the number of teachers working in maintained schools in Wales actually fell by around 150 to just over 27,000.
Despite the drive towards the integration of children with special needs into mainstream schools, the number of teachers working in special schools in England also reached a new high, passing the 19,000 figure for the second year in succession.