The number of teachers in English schools

14 September 2016
What was claimed

There are more teachers in English schools now than in 2010.

Our verdict

That’s correct, although the number of pupils has also increased. The number of primary school teachers has risen, masking a fall in the number of secondary teachers.

What was claimed

There is a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.

Our verdict

The number of new trainees is falling, but more full time equivalent teachers are joining state schools than leaving them.

“[There is] a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention”

Jeremy Corbyn, 14 September 2016

“We have more teachers in our schools today than in 2010, we have more teachers joining the profession than leaving it

Theresa May, 14 September 2016

Both leaders have a point here.

Take recruitment first. Overall, about 32,000 people entered teacher training in 2015/16—7,000 fewer trainees than were recruited for 2009/10.

The numbers were up last year, but not enough to meet the government’s recruitment target, which hasn’t been reached since 2012/13.

But the drop in teachers entering training hasn’t led to a drop in the number of teachers in state schools. This may be because newly qualified teachers only account for about half of the additional teachers in a given year; others come from outside the state sector, or return to teaching after a break.

Ms May is correct that there were more teachers altogether in England’s state schools in November 2015 than 2010, measuring by both headcount and full time equivalent.

That said, the number of pupils has also increased. And within that headline figure are big differences: the number of primary teachers has risen, but the number of secondary teachers is down. This may be what Mr Corbyn was referring to.

Finally, slightly more qualified teachers left state-funded schools in England than entered them in 2015. 49,700 entered and 50,200 left. However, full time equivalent figures do show more entrants than leavers in 2015. 45,800 entered and 43,100 left.

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