Number of new teachers falls far short of targets

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Recruitment to teacher training is up for the first time in eight years, but the numbers still fall short of government targets, according to official figures released today.

Recruitment to teacher training is up for the first time in eight years, but the numbers still fall short of government targets, according to official figures released today.

Ministers said new training salaries of up to £10,000 introduced in March had helped to attract more trainees, but some teachers' leaders said the crisis in recruitment remained and accused the Government of "clutching at straws".

The official statistics for this year's recruits to all primary and secondary courses show that 28,000 people were accepted on to teacher training courses this autumn - an increase of 8 per cent. For secondary teachers the increase is 6 per cent. Primary teaching continues to recruit well, but secondary teaching is 13 per cent short of the targets set by the Government.

Ministers are offering training salaries of £6,000 and "golden hellos" of £4,000 in shortage subjects. Recruitment has improved in modern languages and technology. In maths, the numbers accepting places on teacher training courses are much the same as last year, amounting to just over two-thirds of the target. In science, recruitment is slightly higher, but the number wanting to train in physics is again down.

The Schools minister, Estelle Morris, said: "Teaching is the biggest recruiter of graduates in this country, and we are looking to recruit around 6,000 more teachers a year than a decade ago."

Ms Morris said: "Our recruitment targets remain a huge challenge, but our strategy is working. The number of teachers in our schools is the highest for 10 years. Although the secondary target has not been met since 1992-93, we have halved the shortfall.

"We welcome these figures but cannot be complacent. We know that schools are still finding it hard to recruit the teachers they need in subjects such as maths and physics because of the highly competitive labour market for such specialisms."

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "The Government is clutching at straws. This is a tiny increase in actual numbers on last year.

"It goes no way to meeting the crisis the profession faces and leaves the education of children in this country highly vulnerable."

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said: "All the Government has done is to hold its own. I would have thought that they would have expected a far bigger increase after introducing the training salaries.

"The teacher shortage is the cumulative effect of years of recruitment problems. I think the situation will be just as bad next September as this. They may have to review the training salaries and see if they need to be increased."

Earlier this month, the Teacher Training Agency announced a £7m teacher recruitment advertising campaign, designed to promote a new fast-track programme that would attract the brightest graduates into teaching. The television advertisements will be broadcast after Christmas.

Comments