The number of newly qualified teachers securing jobs in state schools saw a sharp drop during the pandemic, official figures show.
Newly-published initial teacher training data for 2019-20 shows aspiring primary teachers taking the hardest hit as stagnating birthrates also hit recruitment.
The Department for Education figures also lay bare the differing pass rates and employment outcomes for trainees from different regions and ethnicities, as well as different subjects.
1. Three in 10 new teachers not in work in state schools
The report estimates only 72 per cent of those awarded qualified teacher status in 2019-20 already are or will be working in state schools within 16 months of qualifying.
The “provisional employment rate” marks a significant drop on the 78 per cent rate seen in 2018-19, and the 80 per cent rate a year previously.
22,187 of the 30,868 who qualified last year through both postgraduate and other routes are now or expected to soon be in state school posts, down from 23,908 finding work the previous year.
“The drop in employment doesn’t surprise me as the job market came to a juddering halt last April with Covid,” said John Howson, chair of jobs site TeachVac.
Jack Worth, lead economist at the National Foundation for Educational Research, said it was likely to reflect lower recruitment and “a knock-on from higher retention” as more existing staff stayed put during the pandemic.
The employment figures are based on state school workforce data analysis and estimates, with no data on whether other trainees are out of work, studying or employed in independent schools or other sectors.
2. Bigger fall in primary NQTs as birth rates drop
The employment rate fell more sharply among post-grad trainees at primary level than secondary.
The 70 per cent of primary teachers expected to be working in state schools soon after qualifying marks an 8 percentage point drop on the previous year.
By contrast, 75 per cent of those with QTS at secondary level were in work, down only 3 percentage points.
Howson noted the primary sector had begun to feel “the start of the impact of falling intakes due to the drop in birth rate”.
3. DT and RE teachers appear most in demand
The varying employment patterns for post-graduate trainees by subject provide clues as to where skills shortages are most acute and trainees could be most employable.
Design and technology had the highest employment rate, with 83 per cent of those awarded QTS in work within 16 months.
Religious education was second highest at 81 per cent and maths third at 80 per cent.
By contrast, just 49 per cent of classics teachers were at work in state classrooms, and 64 per cent of newly-qualified PE teachers.
4. Stark regional jobs divide revealed
Employment rate gaps between regions were significant. The proportion of NQTs teaching in state schools post-qualification ranged from 83 per cent in the east of England to 61 per cent in the north west. The north east was second lowest on 62 per cent. The rate for London was 78 per cent.
It comes in spite of narrower gaps in the proportion of recruits awarded QTS, which ranged from 89 per cent in the south west to 93 per cent in eastern England.
Award rates in the north-east were only one percentage point lower than in the east, despite the 22 percentage point employment gap.
5. Black trainees least likely to secure QTS
Postgraduate trainees described as “white” were most likely to secure QTS in 2019-20, with 92 per cent passing, though ethnic divides were less stark than regional ones.
Those in the “mixed ethnicity” and “other” categories had the next highest award rate at 90 per cent, followed by “Asian” and “black” at 88 per cent and 86 per cent respectively.
White and mixed ethnicity trainees securing QTS were joint most likely to be teaching in a state school after qualifying, at 73 per cent.
The employment rates were lower for other groups, at 70 per cent for Black trainees, 66 per cent for Asian trainees, and 67 per cent for all other ethnic groups combined.
6. Disability, gender and age splits, too
Other divides are also apparent in the data.
The DfE said 85 per cent of post-graduate final-year trainees who declared a disability qualified, compared to 92 per cent for those who did not. Employment rates were lower too.
Meanwhile 93 per cent of post-grad, final-year trainees aged under 25 qualified, slightly higher than the 90 per cent rate seen among the over-25s.
Female trainees were more likely to both qualify and be teaching in a state school subsequently, with a 93 per cent pass rate versus 87 per cent for male trainees.