From education to employment

Government misses its own teacher recruitment targets for seventh consecutive year

Initial teacher training: trainee number census – 2019 to 2020

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“This is the seventh year running that the government has failed to recruit enough trainee teachers, based on its own targets. Only 85% of the required number of potential secondary teachers started training in September, continuing a worrying year-on-year trend, and the target for primary trainees was also missed. These targets in any case underestimate how many teachers are actually needed in the coming years.

“The Government is still failing to account for historic under-recruitment, 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 Government also routinely fails to recognise the educational risks of not doing enough to recruit teachers across all subjects. In today’s results we see we only recruited half the number of required physics teachers and only two thirds of the needed trainee teachers in maths, modern foreign languages and chemistry .

Where targets have been met, for instance in English, shortages nonetheless exist across the existing workforce. In some areas of the country these shortages are significantly worse.

“Most subjects outside the Ebacc are missing their recruitment targets, as these subjects are devalued in the curriculum.

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

“Even where trainee targets have been met, recruitment to ITT courses is just the very start. New teachers need dedicated support to help them develop into competent professionals. Once we have invested in their skills, we must not lose their passion and experience to workload and other pressures. In addition, we must ensure good teacher supply where it is needed – many primary schools still report problems with teacher recruitment.

“Unmanageable workload, excessive accountability and restraint on pay has created a teacher recruitment and retention crisis entirely of the Governments own making.  The current Government shows no signs of budging on any of the issues which anger teachers and drive far too many out of the profession. Teachers are an investment and on 12 December we have the opportunity to initiate real and positive change for education.”

Chris Keates, General Secretary (Acting) of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“This is the seventh consecutive year that the Government has missed its own targets for recruitment into secondary initial teacher training and it has also missed its own primary recruitment target this year as well.

“The evidence clearly demonstrates the need for the Government to ensure that teachers’ salaries are competitive with other graduate professions and effective action on excessive workloads and working hours in schools.

“With two-thirds of existing teachers seriously considering leaving the profession, 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 NASUWT will be pressing the Government after the general election to urgently address the factors which are causing the recruitment and retention crisis and guarantee all children and young people access to the broad, balanced and high-quality education to which they are entitled.”

Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commenting on new official figures which show that the government has missed its own teacher training targets, said:

“It’s clear that you can’t trust the Conservatives on schools and education.

“They have no plan to deal with the crisis they have created in teacher recruitment and retention and their spending pledge amounts to a 13 year real-terms freeze, meaning four in five state schools in England will be financially worse off next year.

“A Labour Government will take action to address the teacher recruitment and retention crisis. We’ll significantly increase investment in our schools, tackle the causes of high workload and provide ring-fenced funding to give teachers the pay rise they deserve.”

Provisional recruitment to initial teacher training (ITT) programmes in England in the academic year 2019 to 2020.


Text: initial teacher training trainee number census 2019 to 2020

PDF, 422KB, 12 pages

Main tables: initial teacher training trainee number census 2019 to 2020

MS Excel Spreadsheet, 420KB

Main tables: initial teacher training trainee number census 2019 to 2020

ODS, 148KB

This file is in an OpenDocument format

Provider tables: initial teacher training trainee number census 2019 to 2020

MS Excel Spreadsheet, 355KB

Provider tables: initial teacher training trainee number census 2019 to 2020

ODS, 199KB

This file is in an OpenDocument format

Methodology: initial teacher training trainee number census 2019 to 2020

PDF, 337KB, 5 pages

Pre-release access list: initial teacher training trainee number census 2019 to 2020



This publication provides information on recruitment to initial teacher training (ITT) programmes by training route and subject.

The publication includes statistics on the number of entrants to ITT and their:

  • gender
  • age
  • declared ethnicity
  • declared disability
  • entry qualifications
  • nationality

It also includes experimental statistics on Early Years ITT

Initial Teacher Training Statistics Publications

Email[email protected]

Jeanette D’Costa 020 7783 8699

Published 28 November 2019

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