The latest data on applications by graduates to train as a teacher was published earlier today by UCAS. The good news is the gap between the total number of applicants this year and the number recruited at this point last year is still being closed; it is down to just under 3,400. The gap closed by around 15% in the last month, but time is running out to eradicate it completely by the time courses start in just over a month from now and the total is still some eight per cent below the 2014 figure.
The more depressing news is that only physical education, history and languages among secondary subjects will probably manage to meet their target as set by the DfE’s Teacher Supply Model. All other subjects will probably fail to make the target number unless there are a significant number of last minute offers. In geography, music and business studies it looks as if the position is even worse than at this time last year. In several other subjects, an increase in the TSM number for last year means even with the improved offers the shortfall may be greater than experienced last year.
Of as much concern is that there are still a large number of conditional offers in the system. As most graduates should now know their degree class it may be that health, criminal checks or skill test results are still awaited. Even in history, the majority of offers are conditional, so the level of possible dropout is crucial.
The DfE has today also updated is key messages for School Direct – not please note for teacher preparation courses – to entice more graduates to be trainees. I thought that I would share the messages with readers;
Messages to use to recruit to School Direct Updated 30 July 2015
1. A great teacher can earn up to £65,000 as a leading practitioner
2. Get £25,000 tax-free to train to teach
3. Teachers start on a salary of between £22k and £27k
4. Teaching is a career for achievers. Three-quarters of new teachers now have a 1st or 2:1 degree
5. Teacher training is better than ever before
6. Good teachers are in demand, and there are excellent employment prospects
7. Get young people inspired by the subject you love
8. Inspire young people to fulfil their potential
9. Change a young person’s life for the better
10. Help young people to realise their ambitions
11. Go home each day knowing you’ve made a difference
All worthy sentiments, although I was told to avoid ‘get’ as it was considered slang. May be it isn’t so offensive nowadays.
The other interesting figure is the fate of the salaried route in School Direct where conversion rates remain much lower than for other routes into teaching. Indeed, the secondary salaried route may yield fewer trainees than the former Graduate Teacher Training Programme that it replaced did in some of the years when it was in operation.
Applications are still down in all regions and all age groups, with London some 600 applicants down on this point last year. Applicants from the over-40s seem to be holding up better than from any other age group.
So, please carry on recruiting through the holiday period: we need the applicants.