Teacher Supply in 2017

The National College recently published details of the 2016 entry to teacher preparation courses starting in the autumn of 2017 and I commented on the data in an earlier post. Here are some further thoughts about how the decisions might affect the labour market for teachers in 2017. Now, I know that is a long way off and we still haven’t had the ITT census for 2015, but these numbers matter.

The first big change, as I noted in the previous post, is the inclusion of Teach First in the Teacher supply modelling process. This change cuts around 2,000 entrants from the total but will allow the government to claim that it has provided sufficient teachers if recruitment continues at the level we expect to see when the 2015 figures are published. Now the last time a government did this sort of thing was when it incorporated the old GTTP and other employment-based numbers into the modelling process and provided a single figure. In that respect, Teach First has always been an anomaly. When the numbers were outwith the published planning process there was always a risk that the government would train too many teachers. Indeed, between 2010 and 2014 Teach First may have led to some over-supply of teachers. Since that isn’t the case now, the incorporation of the numbers can save the government’s blushes, and won’t actually reduce the intake into training. It will just remove empty places from the system. The problems will arise when teaching once again becomes a more attractive career for graduates.

As in the past two years, the National College has allow bids for more training places, especially from schools, than the government statisticians seem to think we need. There are higher allocations except in mathematics and design and technology where allocations for 2016 are down on the 2015 figure; this despite there being more mathematics places required by the Teacher Supply Model than last year. Perhaps schools have decided that it isn’t worth making the effort when there just aren’t the quality candidates looking to enter teaching in their area. The following list shows the relationship between the level of allocations and the Teacher Supply Model for secondary subjects. For this list, it is possible to imagine where recruitment controls might be applied first.

allocations as % of TSM
Physical Education 217%
Geography 215%
Physics 215%
Computing 211%
History 210%
Drama 209%
Music 209%
Chemistry 204%
Business Studies 200%
Religious Education 198%
English 165%
Biology 160%
Modern Foreign Languages 158%
Art & Design 157%
Mathematics 135%
Design & Technology 116%
Other 107%
Classics 57%

Interestingly, if anyone wants to start a classics course there still seems to be places unallocated. PE and history course providers on the other hand seem almost certain to be subject to recruitment controls, at least in some parts of the country. On the other hand, those with maths courses seem highly unlikely to be subject to any recruitment controls at these levels.

In passing, it is worth noting that, if the economy were suddenly to turn downward, and the National College didn’t impose the recruitment controls, then the Treasury would be faced with close to £180 million pounds of unnecessary tuition fee costs. That doesn’t seem likely at this point in time.


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