The DfE has finally provided the August data on ITT applications. Flagged for the 22nd August publication, the data are now in the public domain. As expected, they make grim reading for anyone at all interested in teacher supply.
At this stage of the year there are two numbers that matter; the absolute number offered a place on a postgraduate ITT course, and how that number relates to the DfE’s Teacher Supply Model (TSM) and its calculation of how many teachers are needed to be trained each year.
First the good news, there are more offers in design and technology than in August last year; nearly 100 more. However, nowhere near enough to meet the probable TSM number, based upon past levels.
Now the bad news. Several subjects are at their lowest level for offers for any year since before the 2013/14 recruitment round. These include:
None of these subjects will recruit enough trainees to meet the likely TSM number.
Will probably recruit enough trainees to meet targets, as should the primary sector, where there are around 12,000 offers. Much depends upon the numbers made offers that fail to turn up when courses commence.
In total, around 24,000 candidates have been recruited, and have either fulfilled all requirements or have ‘conditions pending’. The 13,850 of the 24,000 in the latter category are a worry. There should not be that many at this stage in the cycle. Perhaps course administrators haven’t updated the records during July and August. But it cannot be because candidates are awaiting degree results, so presumably it is either DBS checks or some other administrative issue.
24,000 is still an impressive number, and it should hammer home to Ministers in the new government how important teaching is as a career. With approaching a decade of under-recruitment to training, parts of the school system are now facing serious issues with staffing.
So, how serious is the present situation? In August 2021 there were 46,830 applicants to courses. This August, the number is 38,062. New graduate numbers have dropped from around 14% of the total to 13%, but the decline is greater in percentage terms than the nine per cent overall decline. Teaching is becoming more reliant upon career changers once again.
There have been 5,000 fewer female applicants this year compared with August 2021, and 2,500 fewer men, although the level of applications from men is still higher than it was 30 years ago when applicant numbers struggled to reach the 10,000 level.
While there has been a slight increase in applications for the PG Teaching apprenticeship route into teaching, some other routes are below last year. HE is down from 55,000 to less than 53,000 but SCITT are only marginally down from 15,000 to just over 14,600. The School Direct Salaried route has attracted less than 6,000 applications, compared with some 9,000 last year. With just 760 offers, this route is no longer of any more than passing interest in supplying new teachers to the profession.
If there is another spark of good news it is that applications to courses in London at 27,460 this August are only marginally below the 27,600 recorded last August. Might this be where a significant number of career changers are seeking to enter teaching. Should more ITT places be allocated to the providers with courses in the capital?
This is the last set of data because courses commence in September, and whoever is Secretary of State in September would be well advised to seek an early briefing from the newly appointed SRO for the ITT Reform Project as to how he will ensure sufficient high-quality teachers for all our state-funded schools. The current recruitment campaign isn’t working, and relying upon a recession to make teaching more attractive as a career is akin to crossing your fingers and hoping.
Then end of this cycle of recruitment marks my 35th year of studying trends in teacher recruitment, ever since I was appointed to the leadership team at Oxford Brookes then newly formed School of Education.
The next number that really matters will be the ITT Census, to be published late in the autumn, when the whole reality of the 2023 recruitment round will become apparent to schools.
My advice to schools, don’t wait until then, start planning now for a challenging recruitment round in 2023, whether for January or September appointments.