A new year and academic term brought with them the release of 2017’s teacher recruitment figures and the overall picture is bleak with the number of students training to become teachers falling by a third.

Figures released by UCAS show that on 18th December 2017, 12,820 people had applied for teacher training compared to 19,330 who applied by 19th December 2016. That's a decline of 6,510 potential teachers and as general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton, said the numbers are ‘alarming’ and ‘pretty disastrous’.

More teachers, not fewer.

One of the reasons for Barton's concern is that pupil numbers are expected to rise considerably over the next nine years leading to a demand for more teachers entering classrooms, not fewer. ‘It’s pretty disastrous for a profession which is going to need more teachers,’ he said.

He blames the fall in applications partly on increased teacher workload as well as worries over accountability in the profession and has called on the government to develop clearer routes into teaching. This, he said, will ease the journey into the profession for the next generation of potential teachers.

Worst hit subjects.

Design and technology is the worst-hit subject, the report revealed, with the number of applicants wanting to teach it specifically falling by 67%. Core subjects have also been hit and in English and science there was a 25% and 23% drop in applicants respectively. 

Of those choosing to enter the profession, many are now taking advantage of alternative routes into teaching other than the more traditional higher education options.  According to the Department for Education, there were 56,735 places allocated to initial teacher training providers (ITT) and school direct lead schools in 2017/18, of which 6,672 were for undergraduate ITT; figures, which continue the increase in the number of aspiring teachers choosing on the job training as their preferred method of a route into teaching.

Benefits of teaching.

Barton also noted that the recent changes in the curriculum taught in UK schools has caused teachers to forget ‘the joy of teaching’ while they are focused on learning and delivering new content. At Randstad, we have an extensive database of 45,000 active teaching and support staff who are trained, checked, and ready to bring the joy of teaching back to your school or academy. 

Our latest search technology harnesses the best of our own resources and databases and all the specialist job boards and CV libraries, giving you high speed access to hundreds of relevant candidates for every role. Our specialist recruiters then work hard to narrow down the results to create the right shortlist of staff for you: despite the decrease in teachers applying to train, we’ve got the resources available to match high quality candidates to any vacancy.