A third of trainee teachers ‘fail to hold good degrees’

The Telegraph is reporting research that claims thousands of students are being trained as teachers despite leaving university with poor degrees…

More than a third of would-be teachers failed to gain at least a 2:1 and almost one-in-10 entered courses with a third-class degree or worse, it emerged.

The study found that vital subjects such as maths, science and computing were most likely to be taught by graduates with low-level qualifications.

Researchers found that around 45 per cent of those training to teach science had degrees no higher than a 2:2.

Among maths trainees, some 40 per cent achieved a 2:2 or worse and 14.6 per cent failed to hold a degree higher than a third.

These are the areas “where arguably subject expertise as measured by degree class is especially important”, the report said.

The disclosure comes despite a Coalition plan to cut back funding for trainees failing to gain at least a 2:2 in a move designed to turn teaching into a “brazenly elitist” profession.

Today’s report by the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University found that overall standards of qualifications among trainees had increased dramatically since the late 90s.

In 1998, fewer than half of those training to work in primary schools had at least a 2:1 compared with just over two-thirds of those taking part in 2011/12. In secondary schools, the proportion rose from 46 to 61 per cent.

But the study – based on an analysis of around 36,000 trainees – found that the increase coincided with a general rise in degree grades among all graduates nationally over the same period.

The research also revealed that:

• Just 18 per cent of new primary school teachers are men despite concerns over a lack of good role models for young boys, although the proportion is up from the 14 per cent registered in the late 90s;

• A quarter of those with training places were not in teaching six months after the end of the course, with 10.6 per cent failing to pass and 14.7 per cent failing to find a job;

• Teachers were more likely to find a job after being trained directly in schools – the Government’s favoured system – rather than through traditional university-based routes…

More at: A third of trainee teachers ‘fail to hold good degrees’

Of course, the headline could be re-written as “two-thirds of trainee teachers hold good degrees” but is there any correlation between class of degree and effectiveness as a teacher? Please let us know in the comments, via Twitter and by taking part in our poll…

[yop_poll id=”83″]
Anger as GCSE students study play full of self-harm, suicide and 218 F-words
Teachers at flagship Islington free school vote to strike over new 'zero hour' job terms
Categories: Teaching.


  1. andylutwyche

    Bedtonman SchoolsImprove Agreed – it may be difficult for someone with a 1st class degree to comprehend difficulties that some may have

  2. LearnWLesley

    SchoolsImprove teaching needs good subject knowledge however empathy & ability 2 communicate, motivate, engage isn’t learnt through degree

  3. Graham_IRISC

    geordie_online Until media stops knocking teachers, recruitment will be constrained. Building sense of worth and efficacy important

  4. tomnolan87

    SchoolsImprove So what?! Academic prowess at uni does not a good teacher make. Prospective teachers should be judged on more than degrees.

  5. tomnolan87

    SchoolsImprove I got a 2:2 and had a nightmare trying to get on an ITT course. So much more needs to be taken into consideration.

  6. leftferret

    Neferure1 SchoolsImprove What makes a teacher good is committment – There is no test for it — but you feel it see it and hear it everyday

  7. Sal5oh

    Neferure1 SchoolsImprove daughter’s degree 2:2 certainly doesn’t reflect the reputation she has as a top teacher…

  8. Sal5oh

    Neferure1 SchoolsImprove it does reflect the family circs @ time. There comes a time when reputation must surely overcome qualification?

  9. heelismichelle

    LearnWLesley SchoolsImprove would be interested to see stats on how many graduates from deprived backgrounds get 2.1 or better

  10. JeniHooper

    SchoolsImprove yet to show link between outstanding teachers and degree class. Academic knowledge not the only component of good teaching.

  11. Laura_NomNom

    SarahFCG SchoolsImprove Yeah everyone knows ‘good degrees’ make good teachers dylanwiliam got a third and he’s successful in education!

  12. Organic_Jane

    SchoolsImprove Those with top degrees /desirable subjects won’t go into teaching when they can be pd a lot more & are respected elsewhere.

  13. Sal5oh

    SarahFCG SchoolsImprove nowadays @ interview applicants are expected to have started their Masters #secondclassjustdoesntdoitanymore

  14. SarahFCG

    Sal5oh SchoolsImprove Not in the school where I am a governor. Other elements than academic record are as important in spotting potential.

Let us know what you think...