Hundreds of trainee teachers who failed to qualify are taking lessons in the classroom.
Statistics published by the Department for Education came as headteachers say they are beginning to see signs of teacher shortages emerging as the economy offers alternative employment prospects.
Figures show that 328 trainees who did not achieve Qualified Teacher Status were working in teaching – 44 per cent of them as non-specialist primary school teachers.
In addition, more than 2,000 of those who qualified were not in teaching jobs six months after qualifying – with 1, 048 saying they had decided not to work in the profession.
The figures coincide with the Government’s decision to allow its academies and free schools to employ non-qualified teachers.
“This policy is damaging school standards and is more evidence that the Tories have gone soft on standards,” said shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, added: “I think this is partly due to it being a difficult time to attract teachers. We’re starting to see that … people are talking about recruitment difficulties. This is probably a sign of it. Schools might want to employ qualified teachers but you can’t have empty classrooms.”
However, the Department for Education said the number of teachers without Qualified Status had fallen in the past four years and the overall quality of teaching improved with a record 74 per cent now holding a 2:1 degree or better.
“Nonetheless, we believe that it is headteachers who are best placed to decide who to employ in their classrooms,” a spokesman added. “It is only right that they should have the choice of complementing their teaching staff by bringing in experts from the world of science, literature and art to enrich pupils’ learning.”
Yesterday’s statistics follow a report from Universities UK, the body which represents vice-chancellors, which warned that the Government’s decision to shift teacher training from universities to “School Direct” was causing shortages in key subject areas such as maths and physics.Reuse content