The universities hit hardest by falling teacher training numbers

Figures show fewer new entrants to teacher training than two years ago

December 2, 2022
Classroom with colorful lockers and raised chairs on the tables
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Amid a “substantial decline” in the number of graduates training to be teachers in England, analysis reveals which universities are the most affected.

Figures from the Department for Education show 28,991 new entrants began initial teacher training (ITT) in England in 2022-23.

This was down from 36,159 the year before, and a 28 per cent drop from the peak of 40,377 in the 2020-21 training year during the Covid-19 pandemic.

And analysis of the higher education institutions with at least 100 new entrants registered reveals that some providers have seen demand fall much more than others.

London Metropolitan University had 153 new entrants in 2020-21, but just 57 in 2022-23 – a 63 per cent drop.

This was closely followed by Canterbury Christchurch University (a 62 per cent drop), and Brunel University, London (55 per cent).

Of the dozens of institutions recorded in total, just two (Loughborough and Coventry) registered more new entrants in 2022-23 than 2020-21.

Name2020-212022-23Percentage change

The DfE said one provider had submitted inconsistent data in the latest year, but would not say which one.

James Zuccollo, director for school workforce at the Education Policy Institute, said it was clear that the profession’s heightened popularity during the pandemic was short-lived, with the figures showing a “substantial decline”.

“This decline in popularity raises questions over the government’s decision to cut retention payments during the pandemic,” he added.

“It’s also clear that certain subjects were more affected than others, a likely result of graduates finding more competitive pay in occupations other than teaching.”

With 1,022 graduates registered, Edge Hill University remains the largest trainer of new teachers – followed by Sheffield Hallam University (808), and University College London (772).

Jack Worth, school workforce lead at the National Foundation for Educational Research, said the figures show that not enough teachers are entering training across a large range of secondary subjects to meet the need.

“Thirteen out of the 17 secondary subjects, as well as primary, failed to meet their recruitment targets,” he said.

“Teacher recruitment and retention will remain a key challenge for the education system for the foreseeable future, unless radical action is taken to address the most pressing underlying challenges, such as pay and workload.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said bursaries worth up to £27,000 and scholarships worth up to £29,000 are available for 2023 teacher trainees in subjects such as chemistry, computing, mathematics, and physics.

“We also remain committed to raising the starting salary for teachers to £30,000 next year,” she added.

 patrick.jack@timeshighereducation.com

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