The government is allowing a teacher training crisis to unfold on its watch, according to Labour. The Guardian reports that opposition party have challenged the government’s failure to meet its own teacher training targets, after it failed to meet the required recruitment levels for a fifth year in a row.
An inadequate number of trainee teachers enrolled in education training courses in more than three-quarters of subjects. The number of maths, physics, design and technology, computing and business studies teachers, have all fallen around 15 percent short of their targets.
Labour is concerned about the quality of teachers being trained. About 6,000 prospective teachers began training courses after achieving a 2:2 or lower in their degree subject, and less than half of trainees are studying for their qualifications in universities, Labour said.
The only subjects to meet the required recruitment levels were PE, history, biology and geography, while English and chemistry narrowly missed them.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow education secretary, said it amounted to a teacher training crisis that would lead to shortages, saying:
“Every year the government miss their targets and it’s subjects that are crucial to our future economy that are worst hit. The Tories really need to get a grip on this. They are failing in their most basic job in education – providing enough teachers for our schools.”
However, a spokeswoman for the Department for Education (DfE) disputed the idea of a crisis, saying the figures showed that teaching “continues to be an attractive career”. They commented:
“Secondary postgraduate recruitment is at its highest level since 2011 and we have recruited more trainees in key subjects including physics, maths, modern foreign languages, biology, chemistry and geography than we did last year.
The quality of new entrants also continues to be high, with 18% of this year’s cohort again holding a first-class degree – the highest on record and up from 10% in 2010-11. This shows that teaching is as popular as ever among the most talented graduates. But we recognise that there are challenges, which is why we are investing more than £1.3bn over this parliament so we can continue to attract the brightest and best into teaching.”