Covid recruitment boost sees government meet trainee teacher target for first time in 8 years

teacher training

The number of people starting initial teacher training courses in England rose by 23 per cent this year, new government figures show.

The boost means the government has met its secondary teacher recruitment target for the first time in eight years.

However, recruitment in some individual subjects – including physics and maths – remain below target this year.

According to the Department for Education, there were 41,472 new entrants to ITT in 2020-21, up from 33,799 in 2019-20.

It comes the DfE reported a surge in applications earlier this year, driven by the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing financial crisis.

As usual, the majority of new ITT entrants (35,467) were graduates starting postgraduate courses, while 6,005 were entrants to undergraduate courses. Both types of entrant saw the same increase of 23 per cent.

(a) Entrants as a proportion of TSM targets, (b) Numbers in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20, by subject. Click to expand

It means the teacher supply model (TSM) target, which sets out the number of teachers needed to enter the system each year, has been reached at secondary level for the first time since 2012-13.

The target in secondary subjects was met by 106 per cent, while at primary it was met by 130 per cent. The percentage of the TSM met for EBacc subjects was 105 per cent.

Last year it was reported that the government had missed its recruitment target for secondary teachers for the seventh year in a row.

At individual subject level, targets were smashed by even larger degrees.

In classics, there were 69 new entrants to ITT, which is 256 per cent of the TSM target. In biology, there were 2,105 entrants, which is 189 per cent of the target.

Other subjects which surpassed the targets by large amounts include history (175 per cent), PE (135 per cent), art and design (132 per cent), drama (131 per cent) and geography and primary (both 130 per cent).

However, some subjects are still below target, with recruitment in physics at 45 per cent of what it needs to be, modern foreign languages at 72 per cent, design and technology at 75 per cent and maths at 84 per cent.

It comes after the government announced it was either reducing or slashing altogether various incentives aimed at boosting recruitment for the next academic year, following this year’s increase in supply.

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