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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 July, 2005, 23:45 GMT 00:45 UK
New trained teachers out of work
primary teacher
More students have been recruited to teacher training
Hundreds of newly qualified primary school teachers in England struggled to find jobs, latest figures from the Teacher Training Agency show.

Reports of difficulties are borne out by the agency's annual profiles of teacher training institutions.

By this January, at least 681 of those who qualified in 2004 were still seeking a teaching post.

The profiles were analysed by Buckingham University's Centre for Education and Employment Research.


1: University of Oxford
2: University of Cambridge
3: Staffordshire University
4: University of Bristol
5: University of Manchester
6: University of Sheffield
7: University of Warwick
8: University of Brighton
9: University of Central England
10: University of Bath
Source: Centre for Education and Employment Research, University of Buckingham

The centre's director, Professor Alan Smithers, said employment difficulties were worst in the North East, North West and South West.

More than a fifth of Durham's newly-qualified teachers (22.3%) from last year were said to be still seeking a teaching post in January this year.

At Liverpool John Moore's the figure was 17.6%, and at Plymouth and Exeter, 14.8% and 13.4% respectively.

Overall, 5.8% of primary trainees and 2.8% of secondary trainees were recorded as seeking posts.

But Prof Smithers said many had been categorised by their institutions as being in an "unknown" state of employment - 15.3% of primary trainees and 10.4% of secondary trainees.

So the 681 known to be still trying to find work was a minimum.

Between 2003 and 2004 there were 1,188 more primary trainees - a rise of 8.5%.

There were 7.9% more secondary trainees on university courses, at 16,222.

The government has already confirmed that the number of training places will be cut this year, reflecting declining numbers of primary age pupils.

The executive director of the Teacher Training Agency, Graham Holley, said its own analysis indicated that 90% of last year's trainees were in teaching posts six months after their training with another 5% actively seeking employment.

Jobs were available if people were prepared to be flexible, he said.

"We are pleased to see increased competition for posts - it is a good sign that head teachers can now choose the best applicants to teach in their schools."


The employability figures affect institutions' standings in the "league table" produced by the Buckingham centre.

So Durham plummeted from 26th to 64th position.

64: University of Durham
65: Bishop Grosseteste College
66: Middlesex University
67: Open University
68: University of East London
69: University of Greenwich
70: University of Portsmouth
71: Bradford College
72: London Metropolitan University
73: London South Bank University

The figures also show the growing importance - and success - of "on the job" training, in which people study while working in schools.

People on the top 10 school-based schemes were all more likely to have secured a permanent teaching post than in any of the universities, the centre said.

The highest-scoring university, Bristol, would have come 13th on the list of school-based schemes, which was headed by the Thames Primary Consortium.

Another feature highlighted by the centre was that the average age of teacher trainees was 30.

"So the old image of new graduates moving into teacher training after their degree courses is now out-of date," said Prof Smithers.

Quality of recruits

There was also a wide variety in the quality of first degrees held by those going into postgraduate teacher training.

The paradox of teaching is that where there is high demand for the graduates of a subject, like maths, teaching struggles to recruit
Professor Alan Smithers

Of the 47 planning to teach classics, 89% had a 2:1 or a first.

At the other end of the scale, the figure for the 2,004 maths trainees was 41%.

For English it was 66% (out of 2,423 trainees) and science 49% (2,959 trainees).

There has been a significant recovery in maths recruitment, however, up by 40% since 2003.

Another notable finding is that almost 18% of those training to teach modern languages - another hard-to-recruit subject - obtained their first degrees outside the UK.

"The paradox of teaching is that where there is high demand for the graduates of a subject, like maths, teaching struggles to recruit," Prof Smithers said.

"Whereas when there are limited opportunities elsewhere, as with classics and history, top graduates enter the profession.

"This means that as pupils move up through school they are likely to encounter more knowledgeable teachers in those subjects with fewer employment opportunities, and perhaps be swayed in that direction."

Would-be teachers finish training
27 Jun 05 |  Education
Cuts to teacher training places
23 Dec 04 |  Education
Grant for teacher training bill
20 Jan 05 |  Education

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