Academic year 2020/21

Initial Teacher Training Census

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See all updates (3) for Academic year 2020/21
  1. Corrections were made to the percentages in the final bullet point in the section 'new entrants to postgraduate ITT by degree class on entry' .

  2. The 2020/21 year specific methodology has now been included in this release.

  3. A correction was made to the title of the proportion of ITT new entrants by training route table in the Routes into teaching section. The table name previously stated postgraduate ITT new entrants, but should have referred to all ITT new entrants. There has also been an amendment to the variable descriptions where aggregated figures on ethnic groups are presented. The high level descriptions have been updated to Ethnic Minority (excluding White minorities) and White to clarify which ethnic groups are included in each category.

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National and provider-level information about the numbers and characteristics of new entrants to Initial Teacher Training (ITT) in England in the academic year 2020/21. The publication also includes information on numbers and characteristics of new entrants to early years ITT. 

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Headline facts and figures - 2020/21

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About these statistics

This statistical release provides provisional figures on the number of new entrants who have started an initial teacher training (ITT) programme in England in 2020/21 by school subject, training route, training region and a range of trainee demographic factors. This publication includes revised data for 2019/20.

These statistics cover those training to teach via both postgraduate and undergraduate routes, as well as a separate section on those undertaking Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT).

The following tables are included:

  • national tables for the academic years 2019/20 and 2020/21 by route, phase, subject, region and trainee characteristics (main postgraduate and undergraduate routes)
  • provider-level tables for the academic years 2019/20 and 2020/21 by route and phase (main postgraduate and undergraduate routes)
  • a national table for the academic years 2019/20 and 2020/21 by route and trainee characteristics (EYITT route).


Background on mainstream initial teacher training

To become a qualified teacher in England, trainees typically complete a programme of Initial Teacher Training (ITT). This provides them with training, mentoring and teaching practice in schools, and leads to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for successful trainees.

There are several pathways into teaching which include an undergraduate route, over a three or four-year course, and postgraduate routes which normally run for one year full-time. Postgraduate fee-funded courses can be undertaken through a higher education institution (HEI), or via a group of schools delivering a school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) programme or a School Direct fee-funded programme. Postgraduate salaried routes include the School Direct salaried programme, the Teach First Leadership Development Programme and, since 2018/19, the postgraduate teaching apprenticeship (PGTA). Early Years ITT, a non-mainstream route, is covered in separate sections below.

At HEIs, the university or college delivers the pedagogy of teaching supplemented by placements in schools. Successful trainees are awarded QTS and a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE). On school-led routes, trainees are placed in a school from the first day of training. Most school-led routes also include a PGCE as many school-led providers will pair with an HEI.

The Department for Education (DfE) uses the Teacher Supply Model[1] (TSM) to estimate the number of postgraduate ITT entrants needed in each subject to provide sufficient numbers of qualified teachers in the future.

This publication focuses on the recruitment of postgraduate trainees against the TSM targets for 2020/21. Information on undergraduate trainees is provided in the supporting tables.




New entrants to postgraduate initial teacher training by subject


  • ITT providers recruited 14,994 postgraduate trainees in secondary EBacc[1] subjects (representing 105% of the 14,340 TSM target) and 5,595 postgraduate trainees in secondary non-EBacc subjects (109% of the 5,145 target). A further 14,878 were recruited in primary (130% of the 11,467 target).
  • In 2020/21, 106% of the overall secondary TSM target was achieved, up from 83% in 2019/20. TSM targets were exceeded for all but 5 individual subjects. Targets were not met in mathematics, physics, chemistry, modern foreign languages (MFL) and design and technology[2], where the numbers recruited increased, but performance against the TSM target varied between 84% for mathematics and 45% for physics.
  • For most subjects[3] where the TSM target was exceeded, this was a result of higher numbers of new entrants with a largely unchanged TSM target.  A key exception was geography where there was an 8% decrease in the number of new entrants compared to 2019/20, but also a decrease of 17% in the TSM target so the target was still exceeded[4].
  • For all but one of the subjects where TSM targets were not met, performance against targets improved by at least 10 percentage points[5].  The exception was physics which saw only a 3 percentage point increase in performance, as a 14% increase in new entrants was partially offset by a 6% increase in the TSM target.
  • For primary, recruitment performance increased from 94% in 2019/20 to 130% in 2020/21.  This was due to a combination of a 22% increase in the numbers recruited and a 12% decrease in the TSM target compared to the previous year.



[1] EBacc here includes English, mathematics, modern foreign languages, physics, biology, chemistry, history, geography, computing and classics

[2] Targets were also missed for the collection of “Other” subjects, which includes media and communication studies, social studies, psychology 

[3] In the chart below classics is not shown due to small numbers, but exceeded its TSM target

[4] History and business studies were also exceptions; history saw a 18% increase in entrants and a 17% reduction in TSM target, business studies saw an increase in both entrants and TSM target.

[5] TSM targets for these subjects remained the same or increased, apart from design and technology where the target decreased by 10%.

Routes into teaching


In 2020/21, there were a total of 18,494 postgraduate new entrants on school-led routes (excluding forecast trainees), making up 53% of the total, down from 56% last year. The numbers training via postgraduate fee-funded routes rose by 3 percentage points from 2019/20, to 88%. There were increases in the numbers training through all routes except School Direct (salaried) and Teach First routes.  

There were also a further 6,005 new entrants starting an undergraduate ITT programme in 2020/21, an increase of 23% compared to 2019/20 (revised).

Characteristics of new postgraduate entrants


  • The characteristics of new entrants with respect to gender and age have remained broadly similar in recent years, with 30% being male and 51% being under 25 in 2020/21.
  • In 2020/21, 17% of primary postgraduate trainees were male compared to 39% of secondary postgraduate trainees. This is similar to previous years.
  • In 2020/21, 19% of postgraduate trainees who declared their ethnic group reported belonging to ethnic minorities (excluding White minorities), which is the same as in the previous year. Prior to 2019/20, this percentage had steadily increased over time, up from 14% in 2015/16.  This compares to 14% of people in the general population of England and Wales belonging to ethnic minorities (excluding White minorities) (Census 2011)[1].
  • Of postgraduate trainees who declared their ethnic group, 10% were Asian, 4% were Black and 3% had mixed ethnicity, the same proportions as seen in 2019/20. This compares to approximately 8%, 3% and 2%, respectively, of the population belonging to these ethnic groups in England and Wales (Census 2011).
  • In 2020/21, 12% of postgraduate trainees declared a disability. This is down from 13% in 2019/20. Prior to 2019/20, this rate had increased over time, up from 8% in 2015/16.
  • In 2020/21, around 1% of all postgraduate trainees were on a part-time ITT route, with the highest proportion undertaking post-graduate teaching apprenticeships (4%) and School Direct (salaried) routes (5%).




Nationality of new postgraduate entrants


  • In 2020/21, there were 34,259 postgraduate new entrants to ITT whose nationality was known (97% of all postgraduate new entrants). Of these, 92% were UK nationals, 5% were European Economic Area (EEA) nationals, and the remaining 2% were nationals of other countries. These figures are broadly unchanged compared to 2019/20.
  • The proportion of postgraduate trainees who are UK nationals is lower for EBacc subjects than non-EBacc subjects and, within EBacc, is lowest for modern foreign languages where only 66% of trainees are UK nationals. This is unchanged from 2019/20.
  • As well as trainee teachers from overseas, qualified teachers from specific overseas countries can be awarded qualified teacher status (QTS) with no further ITT in England. Figures for these teachers are now published separately as management information in the Teacher Regulation Agency annual report and accounts[1].



[1] Teacher Regulation Agency Annual Report and Accounts (page 9 and Annex):


New postgraduate entrants by degree class on entry


  • The percentage of new entrants to postgraduate programmes with a first class or 2:1 in their first degree has increased from 74% to 75% this year.
  • This increase has been driven by an increase in the percentage of postgraduate new entrants to ITT with a first (up from 20% last year to 23% this year), as the percentage with a 2:1 (52%) decreased from 54% in 2019/20. This continues a steady increase in the percentage of new entrants with firsts and a steady decrease in the percentage of new entrants with a 2:1 since 2015/16.
  • The proportion of entrants holding a 2:1 or higher varies by route. In particular, 93% of high potential ITT trainees had a 2:1 or higher, compared to a range of 69% to 75% for other routes.

Background on early years initial teacher training (EYITT)

Early years initial teacher training (EYITT) provides specialist training covering the education and care of children from birth to the age of five and is distinct from primary education. Training is delivered by accredited ITT providers[1]

Successful EYITT trainees are awarded Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS). They are not eligible for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and are therefore not qualified to lead classes in a maintained[2] nursery or school, unless they also hold QTS[3]. Early years teachers can lead teaching in all other early years settings in the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sector. 

There are several routes leading to the award of EYTS. Trainees can undertake an undergraduate course, which allows them to earn a degree in an early childhood related subject and EYTS, normally over a three year period full-time. Postgraduate EYITT courses can be undertaken through the graduate entry route (full time study, which includes the early years School Direct route) or the graduate employment based route (a one-year part-time route for graduates working in an early years setting[4]). Postgraduate EYITT normally runs for one year full-time. 



[1] Providers graded by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) as ‘requires improvement’, or a lower quality, cannot provide EYITT.

[2] ‘Maintained’ refers to schools or nurseries where funding and oversight is provided through the local authority.

[3] Trainees with EYTS can work as level 3 support workers in a maintained nursery or school. They can work as unqualified teachers in maintained schools or academies but this status is dependent on the school.

[4] Trainees can also undertake an assessment only route to earn EYTS. This is designed for graduates with experience of working with children from birth to five, who are able to demonstrate the Teacher’s Standards (Early Years) without further training; for example, overseas trained early years teachers.  The EYITT assessment only route is not included in this publication.

Early years initial teacher training (EYITT)


  • There were 628 new entrants to EYITT in 2020/21. This is a 76% increase in new entrants compared to 2019/20 (revised) when the figure was 357.
  • In 2020/21, 96% of new entrants to EYITT took the postgraduate route, which is in line with previous years.
  • Excluding those whose degree class is unknown[1], 59% of 2020/21 new entrants to postgraduate EYITT held a first class or 2:1 degree, compared to 60% in 2019/20. This is lower than the equivalent percentage of new entrants to postgraduate ITT programmes (75% in 2020/21).
  • Excluding those with unknown ethnicity, 20% of new postgraduate entrants to EYITT in 2020/21 belonged to ethnic minorities (excluding White minorities), up from 13% in 2019/20.



[1] Thirteen trainees had degree class recorded as ’Unknown’.

2020/21 year specific methodology

Data collection

The initial teacher training (ITT) census is collected annually and counts trainees registered on a course on the second Wednesday in October. For 2020/21 this was Wednesday 14 October 2020.

This statistical release presents detailed provisional data for 2020/21 and revised data for 2019/20. The 2020/21 provisional figures include forecast trainees who have accepted offers but will start after census collection period closes.

For 2020/21 we received data from all 234 providers in England comprising 165 School Centred ITTs and 69 HEIs. The collection remained open until 3 November 2020 to allow providers time to input and check their records.

Quality assurance 

Data for the ITT census were completed, reviewed and signed-off by providers. The data collection and publication team within DfE carried out additional quality checks and data validations throughout the data entry process. After the data was extracted, the production team undertook a further quality assurance process to recode and correct some of the data.

This quality assurance process identified a small number of issues. These, along with the solutions that have been implemented, are outlined below:

  • A small number of duplicate trainees were identified and removed during the quality assurance process. Data were then validated and signed-off by the production team.
  • Approximately 400 trainees (80 from the 2019/20 revised data and 320 from the 2020/21 provisional data) were classified as being on a mainstream ITT route, but as studying Early Years ITT. The production team investigated each provider individually and recoded trainees appropriately as studying primary on a mainstream ITT route, or as being on an Early Years ITT route


2019/20 revised data:

  • For the revised data, the production team were unable to access complete degree-level data when taking the census data extract from the DTTP. This affected 807 trainees at HEI providers who were not eligible for bursaries. These trainees could only be recorded as having an “unknown” degree class.
  • 125 trainees initially had no course level information. These were investigated and completed by the production team.
  • 53 trainees were classified as being on a Future Teaching Scholars training route. This was a route targeted at A-level students, which had a small intake and was recently discontinued. Due to small numbers, trainees on the Future Teaching Scholars programme in this dataset are included with trainees on a School Direct route.
  • Approximately 150 trainees from five providers switched from being classified as undergraduate in the provisional extract to postgraduate in the revised extract (or vice versa). The production team investigated each provider individually and recoded trainees in the revised extract to their correct course level, in line with their route and degree class information.

2020/21 provisional data:

  • Approximately 140 trainees were classified as undergraduate but were also classified as studying for a professional graduate certificate of education. The production team investigated each case individually and recoded trainees in the revised extract to their correct course level, in line with their route and degree class information.

Trainees excluded from this release 

Please see the main methodology for further details on filters and the full list of trainees included/excluded from the statistical release.

Self-funded trainees

There are a number of trainees excluded from this analysis who may be working towards QTS, or another teaching qualification. This release does not include:

Self-funded trainees – We exclude trainees that the provider has indicated are not eligible for UK financial support. This includes overseas trainees not entitled to UK financial support, and trainees on the School Direct salaried route undertaking a non-DfE funded subject and/or employed at a private school. This year, 666 self-funded trainees were excluded compared to 519 self-funded trainees excluded from the revised figures for 2019/20.

Trainees included in this release

The census combines data on actual registered trainees with the reported number of forecast trainees by subject. 

Teacher Supply Model 

The Teacher Supply Model (TSM) is used by DfE to estimate the number of postgraduate trainee teachers needed to provide sufficient numbers of qualified teachers for state-funded schools in England. The 2020/21 TSM estimated the number of postgraduate ITT entrants needed for ITT courses starting in England in the autumn of 2020. The model is updated annually and is published online.

The model accounts for a wide range of factors including projected pupil numbers, the latest data on the teacher workforce, economic factors, and curriculum-related policies, among others. 

More information can be found within the 2020/21 Teacher Supply Model and accompanying user guide, both of which are available here.



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