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Almost a third of trainee teachers spurn work in schools

There are more trained teachers not working in schools than there are in state classrooms, research reveals today.

A report by Bucking- ham University's Centre for Education and Employment Studies shows nearly half a million teachers under the age of 60 (483,700) either never entered state school classrooms or have now quit the profession – while 441,200 are soldiering on.

The figures also show nearly 30 per cent of the 37,724 trainee teachers on courses last year had not taken up a teaching post six months later –and only 60.6 per cent of them had started work in state schools.

The report describes its findings as "wasteful", saying just over one in 10 failed to graduate from courses and 18.9 per cent had not found their way to the classroom. Drop-out teaching rates were largest in modern languages, on 66.5 per cent, and IT (62.6 per cent). "There was high drop out from training in physics (18 per cent) and maths (14.2 per cent)," the report said.

The authors, including Professor Alan Smithers, argue that the Government's Teaching Agency should withdraw funding for places from teacher training providers who perform poorly in supplying recruits to the profession.

They also cast doubt on the Government's plans to restrict funding for the training courses to graduates with top degree passes, showing a fifth of trainee physics and chemistry teachers lack at least a lower second degree. However, 90 per cent of biology recruits had a 2:2 or better.

The report added 40 per cent of graduates on the TeachFirst scheme, which recruits graduates to work in schools for two years, were still teaching after five years.