Figures released by UCAS earlier today suggest that for the second year in succession the government may not hit the targets it set last autumn for the number of trainee teachers it thinks necessary to meet the requirements of schools in 2015. Although we won’t know the final figures until the DfE’s definitive ITT census is published, probably in November, the estimates based upon these figures, even though they come from the first year of the new unified application system, can act as some form of guide. If the final numbers are radically different there will need to be an inquiry into how the discrepancy arose. Hopefully, this won’t be necessary.
There are three measures against which the data can be referenced. They are , the 2013 ITT census -are we recruiting more this year than last; the estimate of need from the Teacher Supply Model as used to influence the 2014 allocations; the 2014 allocations themselves.
The good news is that among secondary subjects, languages, design and technology, computer science, business studies, biology and art all look to be doing better than last year from these figures in terms of offers made to potential trainees. However, only languages, computer science and chemistry are on track to beat their Teacher Supply Model number. Finally, it seems unlikely that any of the key subjects measured by UCAS will meet their original number allocated for 2014.
The bad news is that physics, music, mathematics, geography, English and religious education may have recruited fewer trainees than last year.
There are key differences between the different routes in turning applicants into trainees with School Direct having a lower applicant to offer ratio than either higher education or SCITTs. The School Direct salaried route had especially low offer to applicant ratios with 13% of applications turning into offers in the secondary phase and 15% in the primary sector compared with 19% for higher education secondary and 22% for higher education primary.
This year it may be touch and go whether enough primary trainees have been recruited. Much may depend upon the numbers that actually start courses, especially among the undergraduates where exam results can affect how candidates view teaching as a possible degree course. The fact that around 60 courses have been in Clearing may not bode well; but we will need to await the ITT census for a final discussion of the outcome.
As in previous years, the period up to February yielded the largest number of offers, with little sign of a late surge after finals. With the news about the rise in graduate employment in 2013 announced earlier today this is perhaps not surprising as the graduate job market may have been even stronger in 2014 than it as last summer. The government’s appreciation of this is reflected in their bursary announcement that will be discussed later in another post.
With School Direct undoubtedly focussing on quality more than quantity and with rising pupil numbers over the next decade the government faces a challenge in managing the supply of adequate numbers of entrants to the profession.