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Key shortages in teacher recruitment

10/01/2017 Joanna

New figures published by the Department for Education have highlighted several areas of the school curriculum that have failed to attract sufficient new teacher numbers during 2016/17.

According to the government's Initial Teacher Training census for the academic year 2016 to 2017, recruitment against the Teacher Supply Model (the number of placements needed to ensure there are no shortages within the coming year) was down in a range of subjects in England.

Overall, just four subject areas saw sufficient new entrants in the current academic year, these were: geography (116 per cent), biology (115 per cent), history (112 per cent) and primary (100 per cent). In all other school subjects, new teacher starts fell below the 100 per cent requirement.

The report did show that in most subject areas this shortfall was only marginal. For example, recruitment of new chemistry and English teachers achieved 99 and 98 per cent fulfilment respectively in 2016/17.

However, in other areas of the curriculum there were a number of results that could prove difficult reading for the profession during the coming months. This includes the fact that just 81 per cent of physics teachers were successfully recruited; just 75 per cent of new teachers for non-EBacc subjects; and just 68 per cent for computing.

It means that in many subject areas there could be an insufficient number of trained and qualified teachers in the coming years, as the pipeline of teacher training runs its course and these new starters make their way into full-time teaching jobs across England.

Overall, the total number of new entrants into postgraduate Initial Teacher Training (ITT) in England stood at 27,229. This represented a minor reduction from the level of 27,761 that was recorded in the academic year 2015/16.

Of the new entrants in academic year 2016/17, 27,053 were actual new entrants and 176 were forecast trainees (those who had committed to training but not yet started). Meanwhile, the sector also witnessed an influx of 5,195 new entrants to undergraduate ITT - this compared to a previous-year total of 5,500.

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