Teacher training applications down


The numbers of people applying to train as teachers have slumped.

Applications to start primary and secondary courses next autumn have fallen by almost 30%, according to official figures.

Modern foreign languages, chemistry and English are among the worst hit.

It comes just weeks after the Government confirmed that from 2012 onwards, there will be bursaries worth thousands of pounds available to top graduates who train as teachers in subjects such as science and languages.

Statistics from the Graduate Teacher Training Registry, obtained by the Times Educational Supplement (TES), show that overall applications have fallen by 29% compared to the same point last year.

The number of people applying to start English secondary teacher training courses in chemistry has fallen by 41.3%, while applications for German are down 42% and Spanish 47%.

Applications to train as English teachers are down 39.1% and maths 26.9%, the TES reported.

Bursaries for teacher trainees were first introduced in 2000, and were worth between £4,000 and £9,000.

Education Secretary Michael Gove confirmed last week that graduates with first class degrees in physics, chemistry, maths and modern foreign languages will receive bursaries of up to £20,000 in the future to help them train.

A Department for Education (DfE) spokesman said: "It's no surprise that many potential trainees are still carefully considering their options - given the major changes to student finance next year and that final details on teacher training bursaries have only just been published.

"It's too early for data to reveal underlying trends - but generally most applications are made closer to the Ucas deadline in January and we can already see the gap between last year and now closing rapidly week by week."

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said: "I think this is down to several factors.

"I think it's mainly because of the uncertainty so students will be holding back, but they're also responding to the Government's measures to expand school-led teacher training, which is, in many ways, more attractive. School-led teacher training can attract a salary."