Warning of ‘major’ teacher recruitment crisis as trainee numbers fall by 10 per cent

Liberal Democrats write to Justine Greening warning that schools are the on 'verge of a major crisis' as placements on ITT courses plummet

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The number of graduates placed on teacher training courses has fallen by 10 per cent, according to new figures.

The Liberal Democrats, who conducted the analysis, said the figures showed the Department for Education's teacher supply target for 2017 was set to be missed again, with England's schools “on the verge of a major crisis”.

The party looked at UCAS data on graduate teacher training offers (excluding Teach First) on the same date in August 2017 compared to the year before. The data does not differ significantly from monthly statistics published by UCAS today.

They found that 780 fewer new graduates are expected to be recruited into teacher training this year.

In 2016 7,945 individuals had been placed on courses at this point in the cycle, compared to just 7,165 in 2017 – a 10 per cent decline.

Missing targets

According to analysis by Councillor Professor John Howson, an expert on the school labour market who is also the Liberal Democrat education lead on Oxfordshire County Council, the data shows that many secondary subjects will miss their targets in 2017, with places for teacher training remaining unfilled in September.

Recruitment for subjects including maths, physics, biology, computing, chemistry and English will fail to meet government targets.

According to Professor Howson, only in PE and drama do trainee numbers look likely to meet this year’s DfE teacher supply target.

In geography, history, modern foreign languages, and religious education the total number of offers made through the UCAS system exceeds last year but the target still looks unlikely to be met with courses starting early in September.

'Government failing'

Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat’s education spokesperson, has written to the education secretary Justine Greening asking what is being done to address the situation.

The letter, shared with Tes, says: “With most courses starting in early September, I am extremely concerned that we face yet another crisis in teacher recruitment.

“This is on top of the problems in teacher retention stemming from plummeting morale, pay and budgetary restraints, stress and challenging working conditions.”

Ms Moran said: “Government is failing our students as without enough qualified teachers class sizes will rise further and more students will be taught by teachers not qualified in their subjects.”

She added: “Ministers must urgently address this shortage to ensure we have the great teaching workforce needed for the future.”

A DfE spokeswoman said: “There are now more teachers in our schools than ever before – 15,500 more since 2010. Overall the number of new teachers entering our classrooms outnumbers those who retire or leave.

“We take teacher recruitment very seriously and have a significant programme of work underway designed to encourage more good graduates to choose teaching. As announced at the 2015 Spending Review, this includes investing £1.3bn up to 2020 to attract new teachers into the profession.”

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