ASCL responds to ‘catastrophic’ trainee teacher recruitment figures

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the government missing targets for trainee teacher recruitment in England for 2023/24.
“This catastrophic shortfall in postgraduate trainee teacher recruitment has plumbed new depths. Just half of the required number of trainee secondary teachers have been recruited and there are huge deficits in maths, physics, computing, modern foreign languages and other subjects. It is even worse than last year – which was itself a new low point – and follows years of missed targets. The government has in fact missed its target for secondary subjects in every year since 2012/13, except for a short-lived uptick in numbers during the Covid pandemic in 2020/21.

“The supply of new teachers is simply not sufficient to meet the needs of the education system, and we then lose far too many early in their careers. Our schools and colleges must have the teachers they need in order to deliver a great education to our children and young people. It is the vital resource upon which every target and ambition depends. However, just this week, the latest PISA international study found that a lack of teaching staff was reported to be the most common barrier to teaching in England. 

“As former Schools Minister Nick Gibb has himself said there’s only one real answer – a properly well-rewarded teaching profession. Yet, the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement provided no more money for education and this makes any meaningful pay award unaffordable next year. This is on top of 13 years of pay erosion which has left teaching salaries lagging behind in the labour market. 

“We appeal to the government to see sense and take action. There is simply no issue in education that is more important than fixing the broken teacher pipeline.