The Government is resorting to desperate measures to try to mask the extent of their failure on teacher recruitment. They have:
o Stripped out undergraduate trainees from their target number for trainees, so that the target appears lower overall.
o Included Teach First trainees for the first time in the number of postgraduate trainees recruited, to give the appearance that they have hit a higher percentage of their target than the year before – this is not the case.
o Refused in Parliamentary written answers to publish the combined target for both undergraduate and postgraduate trainees for 2015/16, which would allow the data to be comparable to previous years, claiming that the information is “not available”. Yet, the target for the following year has already been published.
o At the last minute, brought forwards the publication of the data to the week before it was originally scheduled.
New analysis shows that for every year under the Tories the number of trainee teachers recruited has fallen. The total number of trainees recruited for 2015/16 is now 7,000 fewer than for 2009/10.Despite this, the Tories are intentionally misleading the public, claiming that the number increased in the last year.
Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:
“This is desperate stuff from a Government that is storing up huge problems for our schools with their failure on teacher recruitment and retention. Whilst half of all schools had unfilled positions at the start of this year, it is obvious to both parents and school leaders that the situation is extremely serious, and yet Ministers are now trying to pull the wool over peoples’ eyes. All the while, standards are being threatened as schools are forced to turn to unqualified staff, temporary supply teachers, non-specialists, and larger class sizes to cope with the chronic shortages in the profession.
Ensuring that there are enough excellent teachers in our schools is fundamental to ensuring that all children get a great education. The Government’s failure on this extremely basic issue is risking the education of our young people.”