There is constant talk of teacher shortages, yet it is all too easy to overlook the fact that the likelihood of new teachers entering the profession after training continues to vary across England and Wales. For example, during the past few years, teachers trained in the Eastern Government Office region that includes Cambridge have been most likely to stay in the job. In 1999, over three-quarters were teaching one year after qualifying compared to just 69 per cent of those who trained in the South-west. The figure for Wales is even more dismal at 65 per cent, although even that is a rise on the 54 per cent recorded two years previously. So could this be a question of better teacher training in certain areas or more a case of fewer initialjob openings when students complete their training in those regions?
Those who qualified after studying a specialist teaching degree were more likely to enter teaching than those on PGCE courses, albeit with a difference of 2 per cent. Also, 76 per cent of women who qualified with BEd degrees in 1998 went straight into teaching compared with just 68 per cent of male PGCE students. But the best employment rate was recorded by Open University students, or those on one of the employment-based training routes - 80 per cent of them went into teaching.
The ability to attract and retain teachers depends on a mix of factors. But such data as exists may provide the seeds of solution to the recruitment problem.