Press release

Record levels of first-class graduates getting into teaching

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Latest initial teacher training (ITT) census shows that more top graduates are training to become teachers.

Teacher conducting a lesson

Record levels of graduates with a first-class degree are training to teach, official figures reveal today (27 November 2014).

The annual initial teacher training (ITT) census shows that 1 in 6 teacher trainees (17%) starting this academic year now holds a first-class degree, the highest proportion ever recorded, with over two-thirds (73%) holding a 2:1 or better.

A vital part of the government’s plan for education is ensuring there are high-quality teachers with excellent subject knowledge in classrooms across the country to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain.

In order to continue to recruit the best and brightest graduates, with the potential to be brilliant teachers in key subjects, the government is offering a range of bursaries and scholarships worth up to £25,000 tax free to trainees starting this academic year.

Research published recently highlighted that financial incentives and scholarships can drive an interest in teaching into an application for training.

The government’s new teacher recruitment campaign ‘Your future their future’ is also playing a key role in attracting new people to teaching - registrations to the Department for Education’s ‘Get into teaching’ service are up 50% on this time last year.

Charlie Taylor, Chief Executive of the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), said:

It is great news that we continue to see the quality of new entrants into teaching increasing year on year, with levels of trainees holding a first-class degree at an all-time high.

We want the best and brightest teachers in our schools to ensure pupils have the right skills needed to succeed in life and to help the UK compete in the global economy - this is a vital part of our plan for education.

There is clear evidence that teachers make the biggest difference to pupil attainment and a key component of this is excellent subject knowledge. That is why we are offering generous tax-free bursaries and prestigious scholarships to help us recruit the nation’s most talented graduates.

Today’s figures also highlight a big rise in the number of entrants opting to train to teach computing. This year, 519 postgraduate computing trainees have been recruited, an increase of 45% on last year, reflecting the popularity of this subject and its high value to employers and universities.

Subjects including history, chemistry and English were also oversubscribed this year.

The School Direct training programme, which gives schools the power to recruit their own trainees, continues to be hugely popular, with record numbers of requests from schools for trainees in the 2015 to 2016 academic year - more than 23,000, up a third in 1 year.

The ITT census highlights that the School Direct training route continues to grow with more than 9,232 trainees starting in the 2014 to 2015 academic year, up 38% from 6,675 in the 2013 to 2014 academic year. School Direct now accounts for 35% of all new postgraduate trainees and 28% of all teacher trainees.

New entrants on the School Direct (fee) route this academic year also had the highest proportion of 2:1 degrees or better (75%) compared with any other route.

Notes to editors

  1. The statistical release ‘Initial teacher training: trainee number census - 2014 to 2015’ is available.
  2. The full list of bursaries and scholarships available for the academic year 2015 to 2016 is available.
  3. More information about careers in teaching and the routes available to get there can be found on the ‘Get into teaching’ website.
  4. NCTL research on the role scholarships play in graduate recruitment to ITT is available.

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Published 27 November 2014