ASCL comment on postgraduate initial teacher training targets

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the publication of the Department for Education’s postgraduate initial teacher training targets for 2024 to 2025.
“Postgraduate initial teacher training recruitment to secondary subjects was a disaster last year with the government missing its target by 50% - including just 17% of the required number of physics teachers. Given these circumstances, the decision to reduce the 2024/25 target for secondary postgraduate trainees – whatever the technical explanation – will be regarded with suspicion as it obviously looks like an attempt to make the recruitment figures look better. This perception will be reinforced by the fact that some of the adjustments downwards are in key shortage subjects including physics and modern foreign languages.
“Whatever the changes to targets, the fact remains that we have a critical shortage of teachers in our schools and colleges – and that the only real solution to this is for the government to improve pay and address the systemic pressures which drive workload pressures. This is not only necessary in terms of initial teacher training recruitment but in terms of staff retention which is of vital importance in improving what is a pretty desperate situation.”