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DfE slashes secondary teacher recruitment targets

The Department for Education has slashed its secondary school teacher recruitment targets by almost a tenth, despite missing them by 50 per cent last year.

Government sets targets annually against which recruitment is assessed. Today’s figures show that the government believes it needs to recruit 23,955 to postgraduate teacher training in September, down 2,405, or 9.1 per cent, on its target for 2023.

The DfE said the decrease was “driven by more favourable supply forecasts”.

“For example, recruitment forecasts for both returners, and teachers that are new to the state-funded sector are more favourable for almost all subjects this year.”

It added that while “secondary pupil numbers are still growing, they are now growing more slowly; in advance of peaking around 2025-26”.

“This has acted to reduce the rate at which the workforce needs to grow and has helped lead to this year’s lower secondary target. “

Meanwhile, the primary target has been revised up by 2.4 per cent from 9,180 to 9,400, despite falling primary pupil numbers nationally.

“This slightly increased primary target, despite falling pupil numbers, is principally a result of less favourable retention forecasts this year,” the DfE summary adds.

Targets for under-recruiting subjects slashed

Just 17 per cent of the required physics teachers were recruited last year, but the DfE has reduced the target for this September by over 20 per cent.

The DfE said targets “reflect changes in both supply and demand; different drivers may act upon targets for different subjects”.

“For example, more favourable physics teacher retention forecasts this year have acted to reduce the physics target. By contrast, less favourable drama ITT recruitment has acted to increase this year’s drama target.”

In business studies, where just 16 per cent of the recruitment target was met last year, the target is increasing by just 0.4 per cent.

Last year, the design and technology teacher recruitment target was missed by 63 per cent. But the government is reducing the target by almost 26 per cent next year.

The government recruited just 56 per cent of the geography teachers needed in 2023. The target for that subject has now been reduced by over 36 per cent.

Last year, the government recruited 50 per cent of the secondary teachers needed and 91 per cent of the required primary teachers. Overall across both phases, the target was missed by 38 per cent.

The overall trainee target for postgraduate ITT in 2024 is 33,355 — a 6.1 per cent decrease on the year before.

The 2024-2025 target for postgradutate ITT secondary STEM  trainees has also decreased by 210 compared to the previous academic year, from 9,195 to 8,985, a 2.3 per cent change.

Targets by phase and subject

2021/22 2022/23 2023/24 2024/25
Primary 10,800 11,655 9,180 9,400
Secondary Total 20,230 20,945 26,360 23,955
Art & Design 580 530 825 1,095
Biology 820 780 1,050 1,120
Business Studies 725 635 1,195 1,200
Chemistry 1,080 885 1,195 1,220
Classics 40 30 25 20
Computing 840 1,145 1,170 1,330
Design & Technology 1,475 1,825 2,110 1,565
Drama 330 290 300 450
English 1,980 2,100 3,035 2,290
Geography 745 945 1,485 945
History 780 850 800 725
Mathematics 2,800 2,040 2,960 3,065
Modern Languages 1,505 2,140 2,960 2,540
Music 540 470 790 820
Others 1,980 2,240 2,250 2,115
Physical Education 1,010 980 735 625
Physics 2,530 2,610 2,820 2,250
Religious Education 470 450 655 580

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