From education to employment

Initial teacher training: trainee number census 2022 to 2023

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Provisional recruitment to initial teacher training (ITT) programmes in England in the academic year 2022 to 2023.

Total new entrants to ITT

  • 28,991
  • (down 20% from 36,159 in 2021/22)

Postgraduate total new entrants to ITT

  • 23,224
  • (down 23% from 30,093 in 2021/2022)

Undergraduate total new entrants to ITT

  • 5,767
  • (down 5% from 6,066 in 2021/22)

Percentage of ITT recruitment target reached

  • 93%
  • Primary subjects (down from 131% in 2021/22)

Percentage of ITT recruitment target reached

  • 59%
  • Secondary subjects (down from 79% in 2021/22)

Percentage of ITT recruitment target reached

  • 62%
  • EBacc subjects (down from 84% in 2021/2022)


In total there were 28,991 new entrants to ITT in 2022/23 compared to 36,159 in 2021/22[1], 40,377 in 2020/21 and 33,799 in 2019/20.  In 2020/21, we saw an unprecedented increase in new entrants to ITT, which was likely to be a direct result of the impact of COVID-19, and these higher levels continued, to a lesser extent, into 2021/22.

Of the new entrants in 2022/23, 23,224 were starting postgraduate ITT, a decrease (23%) from 30,093 in 2021/22. There were 5,767 new entrants to undergraduate ITT in 2022/23, a decrease (5%) from 6,066 in 2021/22.

The percentage of the Postgraduate Initial Teacher Training (PGITT) target achieved for all subjects (secondary and primary) was 71%. This is a decrease of 26 percentage points, down from 97% in 2021/22. This was driven by a decrease in the number of new entrants to PGITT (of 6,869) and an increase in the target (from 31,030 in 2021/22 to 32,600 in 2022/23).  

  • Overall, 93% of the PGITT target was achieved in primary (compared to 131% in 2021/22). Prior to this year, the PGITT primary target was met in 5 of the latest 7 years, including in 2020/21 and 2021/22.  
  • Overall, 59% of the PGITT target was achieved in secondary subjects (compared to 79% in 2021/22). The PGITT secondary target has not been met since 2012/13, except in 2020/21.
  • Overall, 62% of the PGITT target was achieved for English Baccalaureate (EBacc)[2] subjects (compared to 84% in 2021/22). Within EBacc subjects, recruitment exceeded the PGITT target for History and Classics[3]. Targets were not met for the other EBacc subjects. 
  • PGITT targets for 2022/23 were set using analysis from the Teacher Workforce Model (TWM)[4].


[1] This release includes final data for 2021/22, which revises previously published information. See methodology for further information.

[2] EBacc here includes English, mathematics, modern foreign languages, physics, biology, chemistry, history, geography, computing and classics

[3] Note: the sample size for Classics is small and therefore findings should be treated with caution 

[4] Postgraduate initial teacher training targets, Academic Year 2022/23 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (

Sector Response

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“These figures for recruiting trainee teachers are nothing short of catastrophic.

“The government has consistently missed its own targets for recruitment over the course of the past decade but this is a new low. Teacher shortages are already at crisis point and such a substantial shortfall in recruiting trainees means this situation will become even worse. The shortfall in physics teachers – only 17% of target – is particularly concerning as this subject already suffers from acute shortages, but the same is true of modern foreign languages, computing, design and technology, and a number of other subjects.

“A key cause of this crisis is the long-term erosion of teacher pay which has fallen in real-terms by a fifth since 2010 making it uncompetitive in the graduate market place. This is compounded by the government’s underfunding of schools which has driven up workload and made the profession less attractive. The government has to recognise and address these pressures instead of constantly burying its head in the sand. No target or ambition for education is achievable without the ability to put teachers in front of classes and it is increasingly difficult to do that.”

Russell Hobby, CEO of Teach First said:

“It has clearly been a hugely challenging year for teacher recruitment, particularly in certain STEM subjects. These shortages will affect schools serving disadvantaged communities the most, where the need for great teachers is most important. 

“To tackle this, we must ensure the teaching profession remains competitive. While the recent increase to teachers starting salaries is welcome – to really plug the gaps we need additional pay premiums for those teaching shortage subjects in our poorest areas. Only then will every child receive the brilliant education they deserve.”

Jack Worth, School Workforce Lead at the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), said:

“Today’s initial teacher training (ITT)data reveals that not enough teachers are entering teacher training across a large range of secondary subjects to meet the need for future teachers.

“Thirteen out of the 17 secondary subjects, as well as primary, failed to meet their recruitment targets. The ITT system attracted less than half (44 per cent) of the science teachers required to meet schools’ supply needs, which will exacerbate existing shortages in this key subject.

“Teacher recruitment and retention will remain a key challenge for the education system for the foreseeable future, unless radical action is taken to address the most pressing underlying challenges, such as pay and workload.”

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“The Government’s teacher recruitment strategy is an abject failure. They have missed targets for both secondary and primary teacher recruitment. This is a disaster for our schools and our children.

“There is no hiding from the dire situation that they have missed their own recruitment targets for trainee secondary teachers year on year, and at 59% of the target for secondary teachers this is comfortably the worst in recent memory. In the lowest-recruited secondary subjects such as physics, the Government has recruited as few as 1 in 6 of the trainees they say are needed. Within primary teacher recruitment they are 7% below target, and this is the eighth time they’ve missed the target since 2010.

“It is clear that the Government’s real-terms pay cuts are having a devastating impact on teacher recruitment and retention. Teacher pay levels are not sufficient to support teacher supply and an already critical recruitment and retention problem is getting even worse. Teachers need an inflation-proofed pay rise. For those who do start a career in teaching, the burdens of over-work, external accountability, and low-reward drive out far too many within the first few years, wasting their time, talent, and training costs. Teachers do not feel valued or trusted as professionals. 

“Our children and young people bear the brunt of this mismanagement and deserve far better. Whilst retention problems are driven both by the excessive workload teachers face and poor pay, this recruitment disaster stems more than anything else from poor pay prospects for teachers. Government must act on this urgently – there must be a fully funded pay rise which at least matches inflation if the Government is to have any chance of hitting its targets next year.”

Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The Government’s own figures show once again the extent of the recruitment crisis in teaching which has gone from bad to worse. Years of underinvestment in teachers’ pay, along with the failure to address excessive workload and working hours, are deterring many graduates and career changers from pursuing a career in teaching.

“The year-on year erosion of teachers’ salaries has left teaching at the bottom of the graduate pay league. Under this Government we have had 12 wasted years of underinvestment and failure which have let down children and young people.

“The imposition of more real-terms pay cuts this year will see even more teachers leaving the profession and even fewer graduates choosing to become teachers next year.

“This is clear evidence of a teacher recruitment crisis that has been made by a Government that has demonstrated contempt for the profession by seeking to pay teachers as little as they can get away with.

“Teachers, pupils and the public demand better.”  

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

“It’s now clear that teaching’s heightened popularity during the pandemic was short lived, with ITT figures released today revealing a substantial decline in the numbers of people pursuing teaching as a career. While this year’s ITT data release differs slightly from earlier iterations, a 20% reduction in the overall number of people pursuing teaching training since last year is still a substantial decline. This decline in popularity raises questions over the Government’s decision to cut retention payments during the pandemic.

“It’s also clear that certain subjects were more affected than others, a likely result of graduates finding more competitive pay in occupations other than teaching. This is most seen through widespread failure to meet recruitment targets in STEM subjects, with recruitment of physics teachers falling 83% short of the government’s target. Similarly, it’s concerning that the overall attainment of graduates entering the profession is declining, with 75% holding a first class or 2:1 degree this year, down from 78% last year despite more graduates attaining these grades across the population. In each case,
teaching must be placed on a more equal footing with competitor career routes graduates have access to.”

Stephen Morgan MP, Labour’s Shadow Schools Minister, said:

“The Conservatives’ disastrous management of our schools is not only driving existing teachers from the profession, but also actively dissuading new recruits from joining. 

“For new recruitment to be down a fifth in a year shows the chilling effect that this Government is having on the teaching profession.  

“Labour’s National Excellence Programme, paid for by ending tax breaks for private schools, will recruit more than 6,500 new teachers so that every child gets a brilliant state education.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

“Education is a top priority for this Government which is why we are investing an extra £2 billion into our schools next year and the year after. This will be the highest real terms spending on schools in history totalling £57.3 billion by 2024/25.

“We understand that teacher recruitment is challenging, which is why we have taken action to raise the profile of this important and prestigious profession. For teacher trainees in 2023, bursaries worth up to £27,000 and scholarships worth up to £29,000 to in key subjects such as chemistry, computing, mathematics, and physics are available. We also remain committed to raising the starting salary for teachers to £30,000 next year.”

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