First the bad news: teacher training won’t hit its target for 2014 entry. To do so the figures issued today by UCAS must turn out to be very different from the eventual ITT census conducted by the DfE in the autumn. The good news, such as it is, centres around the fact that subjects unlikely to fill all their required places identified by the DfE’s Teacher Supply Model targets haven’t changed much since last month. Computer Science/IT may reach its target, although the varied classification doesn’t help here. However, the roll call of subjects unlikely to meet targets includes, business studies, design & technology, geography, mathematics, music, physics and religious education. Primary might just make it, but there does seem to be some weakness in applications for early years courses.
In the secondary sector, higher education providers have added 370 offers to their totals since last month, compared with 20 additional recruits for SCITT courses, 70 for School Direct, and just 20 for the School Direct Salaried route. Higher education will still comfortably be training more than 50% of secondary recruits again this year, assuming that they all turn up when courses start. In the primary sector, School Direct added 150 recruits compared with 130 by higher education providers, and 40 by SCITTs. There was no change in the School Direct salaried route numbers compared with last month. Despite the good performance over the last month, School Direct will still only account for around 40% of postgraduate primary training, and a far smaller percentage of primary training overall once the undergraduate numbers have been taken into account.
At the time thesefigures were complied there were still 600 applicants with interviews outstanding and 2,320 applicants awaitng the result of an offer. To make a real difference all of these applicants would need to be accepted. Realistically, as these are UK figures, the total for England might end up around 28,000 or somewhere near 1,000 short of target by the time that courses start. Where there needs to be real concern, and rapid action by government, is in physics and design and technology. Both are vital to the national economy and both are facing a second year where recruitment will fall far short of target. The government will need to put in place credible solutions ahead of the general election or face charges that it doesn’t care about the teaching of these subjects in secondary schools. Altohugh physics may be helped by the Teach First numbers not included in these figures or the Teacher Supply Model calculations, design and technology won’t receive any real boost from that source of entrants to the profession.
With courses commencing over the next three weeks and the need to take the Skills Tests before entry it seems unlikely that many more trainees will be recruited. The big concern now is to ensure all those with offers turn up when the course starts.