Teacher training applicants in East of England halved in last three years, UCAS figures reveal
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Union bosses in Suffolk have warned that a “radical reformation” is needed in education as latest figures have revealed that numbers locally taking up teaching have more than halved in three years.
Data published by university admissions service UCAS showed that as of December there were 1,210 applicants from the East of England – down from 4,530 at the same time in 2014.
The numbers dropped by nearly 650 from last year, meaning that if the current decline continued there would be no applicants in two years time.
Graham White, national executive member for the National Education Union and National Union of Teachers secretary, said: “We are very concerned that there are a lack of applications, but it doesn’t come as a surprise because there has been a warning to the government for this impending crisis for some time now.
“We need a radical reformation of the education system but not in the direction this government is taking it.”
The union said that staff work load, accountability, school funding, pay and pension issues were behind the fall in numbers.
Research from the union suggests that around 30% of new teachers quit the profession within the first five years because of the demands on them.
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The figures include various routes into teaching, including higher education, School Direct and school centred initial teacher training (SCITT).
Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills at Suffolk County Council, which helps run the Suffolk and Norfolk SCITT, said: “Whilst the number of applications received by Suffolk and Norfolk SCITT is reflective of national trends, the number of successful applications is in line with previous years. This shows that we are continuing to attract highly skilled candidates to the region.
“Suffolk and Norfolk SCITT is the largest school centred initial teacher training provider in the country, working very closely with our partnership schools across the county to offer high quality teacher training.
“Teaching remains one of the most rewarding professions you can join, having a positive impact on the next generation on a daily basis.”
Suffolk County Council Labour spokesman Jack Abbott said more needed to be done to establish why teachers were leaving the profession.
“We are in the midst of a crisis where we are not getting enough teachers through the door.
“We need to make sure we do enough as a county to make sure we get to the heart of why these people are leaving.”
Mr Abbott also raised concerns over some pockets of the county being hit harder as teacher recruitment numbers fell.