New figures showcase high demand for teacher recruitment


Official government figures have revealed a shortfall in secondary school teacher recruitment in various subjects, showcasing a high level of demand for teaching staff.

According to initial teacher training (ITT) census data, which highlights the number of new entrants onto ITT courses, the government met 85% of its secondary school teacher target.

At primary level, 96% of the target was achieved, although in both cases the shortfall highlights the need for greater recruitment across the country to meet the needs of the pupil population.

Recruitment levels varied across subjects, while the targets for subjects also fluctuate based on the number of pupils that are predicted to choose them at secondary level.

Overall, 34,543 new entrants joined ITT courses for the 2019-2020 academic year, a marginal rise of around 1% on the 34,244 that did so in 2018-2019.

Importantly, the Department for Education has placed an emphasis on its new recruitment and retention strategy, suggesting it could help to reduce the levels of demand currently being seen.

By subject, just 43% of required physics teachers were recruited, alongside 62% of modern foreign language staff and 64% of maths teachers.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, over recruitment occurred in biology and history, with 166% and 127% of the targets being met respectively.

Some 119% of the recruitment target for geography and 110% of the English target were also met, meaning demand for teachers in these subjects has lessened.

The Department for Education has suggested that a large drop in the recruitment for modern foreign language staff is as a result of the target for the subject jumping year-on-year.

Whereas expectations were to recruit 1,600 teachers in 2018-2019, that target surged to nearly 2,250 this year – that level of demand will remain for the years ahead too, meaning those considering a career in teaching should look to modern foreign languages as an opportunity area.

The bigger picture though, is that demand for teachers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects remains high, presenting several opportunities across the board for those in teacher training.

Department for Education forecasts from 2019 suggested as many as 400,000 extra pupils could be in state-funded secondary schools by 2027, reflecting a baby boom in the early part of the millennium.

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