Labour are ‘scaremongering’ over teacher stats, claim Conservatives

Teaching is a “hugely popular profession”, the Conservatives said after new shadow education secretary Lucy Powell’s attack on teacher retention and recruitment.

A Conservative spokesperson said the party was “disappointed” with Ms Powell, pictured, after she claimed Department for Education figures for the year to November 2014 showed the number of teachers leaving the profession was the highest since records began.

Government data shows that 49,120 teachers left the state-funded sector in the year to November 2014, while Ucas data shows 48,900 students signed up for teacher training in the same period.

Ms Powell’s comments represent the beginning of a stronger campaign against government schools policy, a shift that she signalled in her speech to the Labour party conference in Brighton last month.

But the spokesperson accused her of “scaremongering”.

“It’s disappointing that rather than acknowledging and celebrating the fact that the number and quality of teachers is at an all-time high, Lucy Powell has resorted to scaremongering with misleading statistics.

“Far from the picture painted by the Labour party, teaching remains a hugely popular profession with 3 per cent more people due to start postgraduate training than at this time last year. The latest figures show the number of former teachers coming back to the classroom has continued to rise year after year. As a result there are now 13,100 more full-time equivalent teachers than in 2010.”

A Conservative briefing said the data used by Ms Powell included retirees and that to portray it as 50,000 people leaving the profession was “disingenuous”. It also said half of the drop in recruits in the Ucas figures was because Scottish trainees were no longer selected through the service.

Ms Powell said: “For years, this government chose to ignore the growing problem with teacher supply, continuing instead to botch recruitment and do down the profession at every opportunity.

“As a result schools are now struggling against falling applications and the highest number of teachers quitting the profession on record. The Tories’ failure to take this problem seriously is threatening standards in our schools and damaging the education of our children – it cannot go on any longer.”


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  1. Teachers ate leaving because of the enormous pressure and demoralising environments in which they now work. Become a teacher if you want to be hated by OFSTED, parents, and possibly your head, depending on whether you are lucky or not. Sign up now if you want to be put down and made to feel greedy for having a £24,000 salary for 65+ hours a week and ‘holidays’ which mean you do a year’s worth of work in 9 months, have one day off a week if you’re lucky and no evenings.
    Yes, become a teacher. Join the treadmill of zombies which spend their day rushing around, eating at the same time as marking 60 books minimum a day, using the bathroom once a day if they’re lucky and running around school because there isn’t enough practical resources / books / pens (insert other essential item here) or the one photocopier for the whole school had jammed so you are queuing for 20 mins.

    Don’t hesitate – why pass up the opportunity to be belittled and berated because your class hasn’t made linear progress like some empty-headed robot whose only job is to fill its brain up with knowledge?

    What’s that I hear you say? People are individuals who all learn at different rates? There could be other factors behind the reason they haven’t achieved this random numerical target plucked out of thiin air? Don’t be silly. It’s your fault. You’re the teacher. Don’t expect your pay progression this time around because you don’t deserve what amounts to an extra £60 a month, even though you work 12 hour plus days most days.

    No, the reason teachers don’t stay I’d really because they’re all terrible. All 50% of the, who leave. (If you can’t tell, I am being sarcastic). I make no apologies. This is what being a teacher causes you to resort to.