From education to employment

Diminished numbers of teacher training providers threaten recruitment into shortage subjects

Teacher in front of blackboard

At a time of substantial teacher shortages, particularly in STEM subjects, the loss of 68 teacher training providers presents a concerning outlook for recruitment in the years ahead, says EPI on the release of new analysis on the reaccreditation of ITT providers.

  • In 2024/2025, there will be up to 68 fewer ITT providers than there are currently
  • These 68 future unaccredited providers were responsible for training 16% (4,491) of all trainees in 2022/2023
  • These providers are responsible for training 605 STEM teachers in 2022/2023
  • The worst impacted regions are the South West, North East and East of England, where these providers trained almost 30% of all trainees

In January 2021, the Department for Education (DfE) announced a review of the initial teacher training (ITT) market. In an effort to increase quality within the ITT market, all training providers were required to gain reaccreditation prior to operating in 2024/2025.

Analysis of the latest ITT figures, for 2022/2023, reveals that 68 of this year’s providers have lost, or have given up, their accreditation. Concerningly, these providers trained 16% (4,491) of all trainee teachers in 2022/2023. While there are 21 newly accredited providers confirmed for 2024/2025, the extent to which their capacity can counter these potential shortfalls remains unclear.

Heightened shortfalls in teacher recruitment presents a worrying outlook for the supply of teachers into high-demand subjects, such as STEM. Our analysis reveals that providers who did not gain accreditation trained a total of 605 STEM teachers in 2022/23. This is particularly concerning for subjects such as physics, proving one of the most difficult subjects to recruit into, with recent ITT data showing recruitment targets to have been missed by 83%. Of these 605 STEM trainees, trained by now unaccredited providers, 77 were physics trainees, totalling 19% of all physics trainees trained that

Certain regions also appear set to be impacted to a greater extent than others. In the South West, North East and East of England, providers accounted for nearly 30% of all teacher trainees. In the Midlands, however, rejected providers were only responsible for around 8% of teacher trainees. Local training matters because teachers don’t usually travel far from where they train. In the North East, for instance, a region that suffered comparatively heavy learning losses during the pandemic and sees lower outcomes at GCSE than many other regions, a substantial loss of ITT providers may well
exacerbate the already present regional inequalities in education.

Given the current challenges facing the sector, consideration must be given to ensuring that this likely reduction in the country’s capacity for teacher training does not harm wider efforts to recruit new teachers into the profession in the years ahead.

Read the full policy analysis here.

James Zuccollo, Director for School Workforce at the Education Policy Institute, said:

“The Department for Education is embarking on a reaccreditation process of ITT providers in the midst of the worst teacher recruitment figures in recent memory. Improving the quality of teacher training is critical to improving teaching in schools. However, removing accreditation from so many providers at such a sensitive moment will require extremely careful management. It risks exacerbating the existing teacher shortages that already plague schools, particularly in STEM subjects and disadvantaged
areas of the country.”

Jenni French, Head of Teacher Supply Programmes at Gatsby, said:

“Recruitment into teaching is at an all-time low, with just 17% of the number of physics teachers required starting their training this year. Now more than ever, we must ensure that a reduction in the number of providers does not lead to suitable candidates being unable to secure teacher training opportunities.”

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