Come clean on teacher recruitment

The latest data from UCAS on the numbers recruited to most teacher preparation courses starting over the next few weeks show mixed signals. On the first look at the data there is support for the conclusions this blog has been publishing over the past couple of months: IT, mathematics, music, physics and Religious Education won’t meet their target as set by the Teacher Supply Model, after the removal of Teach First numbers, but other subjects ought to do so. So, there is nothing new or very surprising in these figures.

However, delve a little deeper and the anxiety of the increase in ‘conditional placed’ numbers over ‘placed’ candidates that this blog has been worrying for the about for the past few months may still be a cause for concern. Take English as an example. Last August, there were 990 placed candidates and also 990 conditional placed candidates. In mid-August 2016, there are 860 ‘placed’ and 1,180 ‘conditional placed’ candidates. That represents a loss of 130 or so (due to rounding we cannot know the exact difference from year to year) in placed candidates, but an increase of 190 in conditional placed applicants. This is all well and good if those conditional placed candidates convert to placed candidates and turn up on the first day of the course. But, why are they still listed as conditional placed as late as mid-August? Is the system of reporting a change of status not working properly? There must be similar concerns about the difference between placed and conditional placed applicants in other subjects, including geography and mathematics.

The difference is even more interesting when the numbers on the different routes into teaching are considered. Higher Education, as expected, has seen a decline of 280 in placed applicants for secondary subjects as places have moved to other routes. However, SCITTS have taken up just 100 of these and the School Direct Fee route only 50. There appear to be 90 fewer School Direct Salaried route ‘placed’ candidates than in mid-August last year. As a result, the fate of the ‘conditional placed’ and the conditions they need to meet before starting their courses will be critical in determining the outcome of this recruitment round and the numbers of new teachers available to schools looking for teaching staff for September 2017. The number ‘holding offers’ and awaiting decisions on places across all routes is basically the same as at this point last year and will make no meaningful difference to the eventual outcome.

The number of men ‘placed’ is also down on last August by some 220, with fewer numbers in the youngest age groups not entirely offset by an increase in men over the age of 30 offered a place. There are more ‘conditional placed’ men in most age groups, with 250 more over the age of thirty. However, total applications from men are down by a couple of hundred.

In November, when the DfE publish their ITT census, these figures will be able to be put into perspective and that will help with interpretation of the same data next year, assuming the rules of the game don’t change in the meantime. we will also be monitoring the effect by tacking vacancies thorugh TeachVac the free recruitment service for schools,teachers and trainees



2 thoughts on “Come clean on teacher recruitment

  1. It makes me desperately sad to read the UCAS /government stats claiming that there are still shortages of Science teacher trainees, as has been the case for a while now. Year in Year out I have watched as people dropping out thinking that, ‘that training place could have been mine’ ….I’d love to put my enthusiasm, excellent qualifications and passion for Science (not to mention three years as a Science TA) to good use by teaching, but can’t get a training place… Who says there is a shortage ?!!

    • Joanne,

      Thanks for the comment. I have sent you an email. The shortage of science teachers isn’t across all the different science areas and not across the country either, but see the post yesterday about Physics numbers.

      John Howson

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