Primary schools facing teacher recruitment crisis

Big drop in applications and loss of staff morale set to coincide with boom in pupil numbers

Primary schools face a looming recruitment crisis as applications to teacher training courses plummet, experts warn today.

Research by an independent think-tank set up by education company Pearson shows that applications have fallen by 17 per cent this year, at a time when a bulge in the birth rate means there will be eight per cent more pupils in primary schools and nurseries within the next three years.

The researchers pin the blame for the drop-off in numbers on the rising cost of university tuition and the Government's decision to raise the entry requirements for would-be teachers, with the result that those with a third degree pass no longer receive funding to train.

The researchers also say the drop in applications has coincided with a fall in morale among those already in the profession, largely as a result of government reforms and tougher criteria for school inspections, which will be adopted from this September by Ofsted, the education standards watchdog.

In a survey of headteachers, one in four said it had been more difficult to recruit teaching staff this year than last, while 55 per cent said morale in the profession was poor or worse. Only 10 per cent said it was good or better.

Professor John Howson, who carried out the research, said the findings revealed "a perfect storm of falling teacher-training applications, low staff morale and rapidly rising pupil numbers" that could "create a future teacher workforce crisis in primary schools".

"The Government needs to take urgent steps now, including higher bursaries for primary initial teacher education courses, to avoid a crisis which would impact on the education of thousands of pupils," he added.

The research, based on figures supplied by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas), showed that those areas of teaching which offer high bursaries to offset the cost of fees were holding up best in terms of recruitment. Physics teaching, for which bursaries of up to £20,000 are available, has seen a 19 per cent improvement in recruitment.

The Department for Education denied there was a problem, saying: "Talk of a crisis couldn't be further from the truth. Every primary school will be able to recruit the number of high-quality teachers it needs."

The number accepted on to primary school courses this year has risen by 1 per cent. Postgraduate acceptances were up by 9 per cent.

The research authors said this did not reflect the potential future impact of falling application numbers.

23,500 pupils skip class on typical day

Thousands of primary school pupils missed lessons without permission on each day of spring term this year, figures show.

The Department for Education says 0.7 per cent of school sessions were missed by, up from 0.6 per cent for the same term in 2011 due to "unauthorised absence". Almost 23,400 youngsters in England's primary schools skipped classes on a typical day during the spring term through truancy, family holidays, illness and other reasons.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Imperial College London: Safety Training Administrator

£25,880 – £28,610 per annum: Imperial College London: Imperial College London ...

University College London: Client Platform Support Officer

£26,976 - £31,614 per annum: University College London: UCL Information Servic...

Guru Careers: Instructional Designer / e-Learning Designer

£30 - 32k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking an Instructional / e-Learning De...

Recruitment Genius: Schools Education & Careers Executive

£30500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Schools Education & Careers Executive ...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor