The recently released initial teacher training recruitment figures in England for 2019 to 2020 show that the Government has missed its target for recruitment into secondary initial teacher training for a seventh successive year.

It has also missed its primary recruitment target for this year.

According to the Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), Kevin Courtney, only 85% of the required number of potential secondary teachers started training in September.

Furthermore, he argued, even had the targets been met, they underestimate how many teachers will actually be needed in the coming years.

Pupil numbers in state-funded secondary schools have already risen by almost 150,000 since 2014, Mr Courtney pointed out, and will rise by a further third of a million pupils over the next five years.

“The Government is still failing to account for historic under-recruitment,” he went on, “and is not doing enough to prevent so many teachers leaving the profession. One third of new recruits leave within five years of entering teaching.”

The shortfall was also attacked by NASUWT’s acting General Secretary, Chris Keates, who argued that the figures demonstrate the need for the Government to ensure that teachers’ salaries are competitive with other graduate professions and that it must take effective action on excessive workloads and working hours in schools.

“With two-thirds of existing teachers seriously considering leaving the profession,” she said, “today’s teacher recruitment statistics confirm the crisis being faced by schools which is impacting adversely on children’s education and future life chances.”

The Government statistical tables can be found at

Last reviewed 10 December 2019