Nearly half of MFL teacher-training places are left unfilled, Ucas reveals

Official figures on recruitment to teacher-training courses released this morning show drastic shortages in key subjects in the final days before training courses began.

The figures, published by university admissions body Ucas, paint a disastrous picture across a range of core subjects, and could make the growing recruitment crisis across England’s teaching profession even worse in the years ahead.

For modern foreign languages, an English Baccalaureate subject, only 810 places had been filled – just 54 per cent of the 1,514 needed according to the government’s teacher-supply model.

Even more dramatic is design and technology, in which just 550 applications had been accepted – 43 per cent of the 1,279 needed.

The statistics, which show the situation as of 21 September, reveal that less than three-quarters of teachers needed had been recruited in RE, business studies, art, classics and physics.

Maths had reached 95 per cent of the required number of teachers, with 2,460 recruits. Teacher-training providers were allowed to recruit unlimited numbers last year and a maths trainee can get between £9,000 and £25,000 in bursaries, depending on their degree class.

The same incentives apply to physics places, but just 770 people had been given places – significantly lower than the 1,055 needed.

There has been over-recruitment in PE, history and primary.

In total, 29,240 applicants had been given a place, a conditional place or were holding an offer, compared with 30,680 at the same time last year.

John Howson, teacher recruitment specialist and honorary fellow at the University of Oxford’s Department of Education, said: “This is the third year running that in a number of subjects, despite everyone warning [there was a problem], the government has failed to hit its target.

“Come next September, more children will be taught by less qualified teachers or unqualified teachers or subjects will be dropped from the curriculum.

“It is particularly worrying for the CBI [the leading employer’s organisation] because design and technology is absolutely crucial to provide motivation for people to go into the wealth-generating sectors such as manufacturing, textiles, fashion and engineering.”

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