More top graduates train as teachers, data suggests

The BBC is reporting the latest official figures showing the proportion of trainee teachers with top degrees rose to an unprecedented level in 2011-12…

Two-thirds of postgraduate trainees in 2011-12 had a first or a 2:1, data from the Department for Education suggests.

This was a rise of three percentage points on 2010-11.

Teaching unions welcomed the figures but said the overall picture on teacher recruitment was patchy, with evidence of shortages in some areas.

However Charlie Taylor, chief executive of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said the figures were extremely good news.

“Children deserve excellent teachers and today’s statistics show the profession is attracting more of the country’s top-tier graduates,” said Mr Taylor.

Some 12% of postgraduate trainees, more than 3,000, had a first class degree, up two percentage points on the year before. And the proportion of those with a 2:1 was 55% or almost 15,000 – up one percentage point.

There was a two percentage point fall in the proportion of those with a 2:2 – to 27.4% or 7,450 trainees – and a very slight drop in those with third class degrees, the government says.

Overall, 32,900 trainee teachers completed their courses in 2011-12. Of these 27,144 were postgraduates.

The figures also showed a rise in the number of newly qualified teachers getting jobs within six months of qualifying.

Of those whose employment status was known, some 91% had secured a job by January 2012 – a rise of at least 5% on 2010-11.

“Schools recognise this increase in quality and more trainee teachers are finding jobs quickly,” said Mr Taylor.

The figures combine data on the numbers of teachers trained by universities, from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, as well as figures for non-university trainees collected directly from training providers by the National College for Training and Leadership.

These figures pre-date the government’s School Direct programme which began the following year. School Direct is designed to boost the numbers of teachers trained directly by schools with support from universities.

Some experts have raised concerns that the picture from more recent years may be of emerging shortages of teachers in some areas.

Brian Lightman of the Association of School and College leaders described the increases in the number of trainees with good degrees as “very good news”.

“However, there are still issues with certain subjects and in certain areas of the country.

“Many schools report that they are struggling to recruit high quality teachers in core subjects, especially maths, English and science.

“With the recent changes to initial teacher training, the big picture about where the gaps are has been lost.”

“It must be a priority for the government to reinstate a national strategy for ensuring that there are sufficient numbers of high quality teaching graduates coming through in every subject.”

Chris Keates of the NASUWT teaching union said the increase in the proportion of trainee teachers with top degrees began “long before this government took office”.

“Today’s figures simply confirm the continuation of this long-term trend and reflect continuing increases in the proportion of 2:1 and first degrees awarded by higher education institutions.”

Ms Keates added preliminary figures for the following year suggested a fall in the number of applicants for teacher training places of “almost 15%” in 2012…

More at:  More top graduates train as teachers, data suggests

Is this good news or is it, as Chris Keates seems to be saying, just a reflection of grade inflation at universities? Please share in the comments or on twitter… 

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Categories: Teaching.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove So how come there’s an impending teacher shortage in some subjects? Could it be that teaching is now sold as a stop-gap job?

  2. PeterHutchinso5

    SchoolsImprove Chris_K_NASUWT The figures treat all 1sts and 2-1s as being of equal value in its definition of “top graduates”. True?

  3. PeterHutchinso5

    SchoolsImprove An A* at GCSE, an A at A Level and a 2-2 in Maths might be of more value in teaching than a 1st in another subject. Discuss!

  4. miss_ruthi

    SchoolsImprove Chris_K_NASUWT I think graduates are looking at teaching as alternative to more unstable jobs in current climate.

  5. acet2001

    SchoolsImprove and then they discover what the pay structure is like (flat after 10 years) and how despised we are by OFSTED and the DfE.

  6. arwenwhite

    SchoolsImprove Top graduates do not necessarily make the best teachers. Other personal qualities need to be considered as well. #teachers

  7. jamesdhobson

    miss_ruthi SchoolsImprove
    Many leave teaching when economy improves.Think tories dont expect this to happen,poor treatment can continue

  8. miss_ruthi

    jamesdhobson SchoolsImprove Yes. It’s only those who really love it who stay. It says something that many I know have already left…

  9. climbdg5

    arwenwhite SchoolsImprove I was taught & have taught with educators of highest quals & none. Qual not measure of ability to guide learners

  10. PeterHutchinso5

    MarkQui12591531 SchoolsImprove Well said that man! Apart from anything else, some degrees are nowhere near as rigorous as QTS.

  11. PlantLeidy

    PeterHutchinso5 SchoolsImprove see Liping Ma’s comparison of US & China. Chinese Ts don’t need a ‘high’ level of maths ed, but a deep one.

  12. PlantLeidy

    PeterHutchinso5 SchoolsImprove the deep maths needed to teach well isn’t the result of a 1st at uni, but good prim/sec teaching & learning

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