ONLY THREE out of five teachers who graduated last year are working as registered teachers, as a record 13,500 newly qualified staff have not found work in schools.
Teacher training colleges are concerned that the Government is wooing trainees to fill non-existent vacancies. Nearly 34,500 people gained qualified teacher status last year, but by the end of March this year, fewer than 21,000 were registered as working teachers with England's General Teaching Council.
Keith Bartley, GTC chief executive, said the council had commissioned research that should identify what was happening to the missing teachers, whether they were travelling, taking time out to have babies, still looking for jobs or had given up on teaching entirely.
Professor John Howson, of the recruitment analysts Education Data Surveys, said there were still shortages in specific areas, such as physics and chemistry and in some challenging schools.
"But for many newly qualified teachers, finding a job is going to be challenging," he said.
The Department for Education and Skills, which sets the number of places on training courses, said most trainees did eventually take jobs somewhere in the education sector. That view was echoed by the Training and Development Agency for Schools, which will spend pound;590 million this year training new teachers.
But Sara Bubb, a senior lecturer at the Institute of Education, said Whitehall officials had miscalculated and more people were being trained than there were jobs.
"Lots of trainees feel they have been hoodwinked into thinking there was a shortage of jobs," she said. "They feel very bitter."
Robert Hooson, head of secondary education at Edge Hill university in north-west England, said the education sector needed to support trainees in making the leap into teaching. "Qualified trainees not entering the teaching profession are a loss to the education system and a waste of a talented resource," he said.
Louise Raven, 23, has been offered a job as a religious studies teacher when she finishes her PGCE today at Kings College London. But she said many of her friends were struggling to find work. In her class of 24, two had dropped out, one had qualified but decided she did not want to be a teacher, one was scared to apply for jobs after an unpleasant work placement and one had applied repeatedly for jobs to no avail.
Michael Georgiou, 24, a fellow student, has applied unsuccessfully for five jobs. "They seem to be filling the jobs with more experienced teachers," he said. "I'm facing the prospect of phoning up companies for supply work."