Sharp rise in number of teachers with 2:1 and first-class degrees


The number of trainee secondary teachers with good degrees has risen dramatically in recent years, new research has found.

The number of trainee secondary teachers with good degrees has risen dramatically in recent years, new research has found.

The Good Teacher Training Guide 2013, an annual report produced by the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham, shows that the proportion of secondary trainees with first or upper second class degrees has increased from 46 per cent in 1998 to 61 per cent in 2013.

There is a sharp variation between subjects, however, with more than 80 per cent of trainees with degrees in classics, social sciences, history and drama having good degrees, compared to below 60 per cent of ICT, science and design and technology graduates. 

Just over 60 per cent of maths trainees had first or upper second class degrees.

The report also found that three-quarters of post-graduate secondary trainee teachers in their final year of training in 2011/12 were in teaching posts within six months of the end of their courses. 

Nearly 12 per cent had failed to complete their training successfully and 13 per cent had not got a teaching job. 

The guide revealed that teachers who train in schools – the government’s favoured approach – are more likely to become teachers and to report favourably on their training. However university-led training attracts more applicants with better degrees.

The report, written by Professor Alan Smithers, Dr Pamela Robinson and Mandy-D Coughlan and based on an analysis of 36,000 trainees, also highlighted the best training providers of 2013.

The top three for secondary initial teacher training were the King Edward’s Consortium, a school partnership in Birmingham that trains teachers for secondary schools, the University of Cambridge, and the North East Partnership, a SCITT (school-centred initial teacher training).

Prof Smithers said: “Our analysis of the 2013 teacher training profiles shows that both university-led and school-led approaches have their strengths.

“University-led programmes tend to have entrants with higher entry qualifications and better Ofsted grades, but school-led programmes tend to have higher teaching take-up and to be rated more favourably by newly qualified trainees.” 

The Good Teacher Training Guide 2013 is available online at



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