Schools are set to face a crisis of teachers after the Government failed to meet it minimum target for occupied teaching training places. Critics have blasted the system introduced earlier this year by the Education Secretary and blame it for the failed recruitment.
Experts have warned that a crisis of teachers may be looming large for schools after, for the second year in a row, the government failed to meet the minimum target for occupied teaching training places. Because of the failure of government recruitment reforms, Labour claim that schools will face a shortage of trainee teachers.
Tristram Hunt, the Shadow Education Secretary said that 6,430 of 38,900 available places for teaching training were currently empty as shown by official figures and that David Cameron was failing in his "basic responsibility" to provide good teachers. That would mean the Department for Education has missed its own minimum target for the number of new teachers required by 2,000.
Earlier this year, the education secretary, Michael Gove, decided to switch almost half of the country's 25,000 training places into schools and away from universities. However, according to critics, this system, known as "School Direct", is failing to recruit the number of graduates needed and prospective students are "voting with their feet" and favoring the remaining university courses meaning that the Government is failing to recruit in crucial subject areas.
According to Georgia Graham of The Telegraph, the Government had failed to hit "most" of their schools' direct targets with subjects that will be key to the economic recovery as the managing director of DataforEducation.info and a leading expert in the teaching labour market, Professor John Howson put it.
"If you look at the school direct subject like physics – there were 318 school direct training places and they have filled 60 of them," he said. "Over all we have probably only filled about half of the places of design of technology across the board – when you considering that is a subject that will get people interested in careers in catering, fashion, electronics in general manufacturing – it is crucial to the economy."
"And if the Government is seriously under-recruiting in that are in it could have a detrimental affect the next generation of people who are going to work in those areas," he continued.
In addition, he said that the country could face a serious teacher shortage if the trend of under-recruitment continued.
"I have been warning for some time that the combinations of circumstances like these and the growing private economies – which are likely to put us in situation where they would run into a teacher shortage. This is only the start because things will get worse – pay in the public being held down whereas pay in the private sector in a rapidly recovering market is not subject to any hold on wages," he said.
Nonetheless, a Department of Education spokeswoman dismissed any suggestion that there would be a shortage of teachers as "nonsense" as 99% of post-graduate places had been filled.
"It is nonsense to suggest there is going to be a shortage of teachers – 99% of our target for postgraduate teacher trainees has already been met," she said. "We always allocate more places than we need, so it is totally misleading to suggest not filling every place will lead to a shortage."
"School Direct is a response to what schools have said they want – a greater role in selecting and recruiting trainees with the potential to be outstanding teachers. The programme is only in its second full year of operating and is already proving very popular," she added.