DfE misses teacher training recruitment goals

The Department for Education (DfE) has released its teacher training recruitment numbers and, while they are slightly up from last year, they have missed their goal considerably

Data released by the government shows that several teacher training targets were missed this year.

The postgraduate trainee recruitment targets in biology, history and English were met, but others were not.

Physics, in particular, has suffered, with the government only recruiting 47% of its target trainee number.

In biology, however, 153% of the required trainee teachers were taken on.

The numbers are an improvement on last year; then, targets were missed across the board bar history.

Overall, 29,255 new postgraduate trainees were recruited this year. The target was 32,226.

Commenting on these numbers, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said: “We are at a crisis in secondary teacher recruitment. For the sixth year in a row, the Department for Education has failed to recruit enough secondary teachers overall, based on its own targets.

“They will say they are training more teachers than ever but the problem is compounded year on year, as each year’s targets do not seek to address pre-existing shortages or previous missed targets.

“Physics has only recruited 47% of the number of trainees the DfE says it needs, down 19 percentage points on its performance against target last year. Maths recruitment is also worse this year, as are chemistry and modern foreign languages.

“With 428,000 more pupils forecast for state-funded secondary schools by 2025, an increase of 15% on 2018 figures, the NEU has serious concerns that the government does not have teacher supply under control.

“It is pleasing to see primary targets met, along with biology, English and history. However, recruitment to training courses is only one piece of a puzzle.

“Retention is also a huge problem with one third of teachers leaving within the first five years of qualifying. This is clearly bad for the education of children and young people.

“Another clear message is that the UK is failing to attract overseas teachers; the award of QTS for EEA nationals is down 25% on last year, and non-EEA nationals 14%.

“If we are to recruit and retain the teachers we need, the government must look and act very quickly on the issues of pay, workload and ensuring all schools are properly funded.”

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