These new figures show:
- Rising numbers – almost 50,000 – of teachers quit this year, the highest figures since records began. This year more teachers quit than actually entered the profession.
- Applications to teach are also falling – down by 21,000 compared to this time last year. Applications are dropping in every region across the country and are down in key subjects such as English, maths and ICT.
- Official figures reveal that the country will need nearly 160,000 additional teachers over the next three years, yet on current trends there could be a shortfall of 65,000 applicants over this period.
- On top of this, pupil numbers continue to grow – with a projected 582,000 more primary and secondary-age pupils by 2020 – requiring thousands more teachers just to maintain class sizes at their current level.
In order to fill vacancies, the Tories are increasingly hiring from overseas. The Government have been forced to launch an international recruitment programme to attract teachers from abroad. At the same time more teachers left our country last year to teach in English international schools than qualified to become a teacher through the university PGCE route.
Shadow Education Secretary, Lucy Powell MP, said: "For years, this Government chose to ignore the growing problem with teacher supply, continuing instead to botch recruitment and do down the profession at every opportunity. As a result schools are now struggling against falling applications and the highest number of teachers quitting the profession on record. The Tories’ failure to take this problem seriously is threatening standards in our schools and damaging the education of our children – it cannot go on any longer. Last week David Cameron claimed to care about social mobility – nothing is more important to raising standards, aspirations and social mobility than having excellent teachers in our schools."
Responding to the Labour analysis a Conservative Party spokesperson accused Lucy Powell of resorting to "scaremongering with misleading statistics", claiming the number of teachers is at "an all-time high. Adding "far from the picture painted by the Labour Party, teaching remains a hugely popular profession with 3% more people due to start postgraduate teacher training than this time last year," the spokesperson said. The latest figures show the number of former teachers coming back to the classroom has continued to rise year after year. As a result there are now 13,100 more full-time equivalent teachers than in 2010."