Is Lucy Kellaway an outlier?

The good news seems to be that the soaring cost of tuition fees isn’t putting of new graduates from pursuing a career as a teacher: perhaps they recognise they will never repay these fees unless there is a period of rampant inflation at some point in the future.

In the ITT census for 2016, published last Thursday, the percentage of graduates under 25 entering postgraduate training has increased from 44% of the total in 2012/13 to 53% in 2016/17. There has been a corresponding fall in among older graduates, with the 25-29 age group showing the sharpest decline, down from 31% in 2012/13 to 24% in 2016/17.

Interestingly, the 25-29 age group accounts for the largest number of School Direct Salaried trainees in 2016/17, some 1,132 out of the 3,159 on this route; 36% of all such trainees. I am not sure how there can be 629 under 25s on the Salaried route, as many must just qualify for the three year post-degree requirement to be part of the programme. Indeed, there are more under 25s than there are trainees over 40 on the salaried route this year. Those on the salaried route under the age of thirty account for 56% of the trainees on this route into teaching: not, perhaps, what was intended when the scheme was devised.

The fact that only 73% of Teach First trainees are under 25 is also of interest since the scheme was designed to attract new graduates. However, 94% were under the age of thirty, so perhaps the programme is doing a good job with mature new graduates. Overall, the mean age of all Teach First’s new trainees this year was just 24.

The 7,328 under 25s that started a teacher preparation course in a higher education institution this September still account for the largest single group of new post-graduate trainees.

Men remain firmly in the minority among those with a declared gender. Only 20% of postgraduate and 15% of undergraduate entrants to primary courses are men this year. Although the undergraduate percentage has remained stable for some years now, the postgraduate percentage has declined from 23% as recently as 2013/14 to 20% this year and men accounted for only 17% of trainees recruited to the primary Teach First route. Still, there percentages are better than 20 years ago, when men only accounted for 16% of primary PGCE trainees in 1995.

There is relatively better news in the secondary sector, where men accounted for 40% of recruitment this year, up from 37% in 2012/13. This means that an extra 1,000 men started secondary teacher preparation courses this year compared with in 2012/13. However, even here Teach First lagged behind other routes, as men accounted for only 35% of their new secondary trainees this year.

There is more god news for the government in the fact that 2016/17 sees 15% of trainees coming from minority ethnic groups; the best percentage since before 2012/13. Here Teach First does better than the school based routes, but higher education institutions lead the way with nearly one in five of their trainees from minority ethnic groups. The location of schools and their propensity to recruit from their localities may account for the relatively low overall recruitment percentage from minority ethnic groups since the distribution of graduates in these groups is not spread evenly across England.

Lucy kellaway will find that there are 117 trainee teachers aged 55+ this year, with a further 421 between 50-54. Together, those over 50, account for 2% of new trainees.



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