Teaching continues to be a hugely popular career. There are more teachers in England's classrooms than ever and record levels of high quality graduates are entering the profession. There are now 454,900 full time equivalent teachers, an increase of 5,200 from 2014 and 13,100 from 2010.
Teacher recruitment remains a challenge as the economy improves. The Government has increased Scholarships and bursaries and for the best qualified graduates in priority subjects. We have also supported the growth of Teach First and announced a £67m package to recruit an additional 2,500 mathematics and physics teachers to improve the knowledge and skills of 15,000 existing teachers. For 2016/17, initial teacher training providers will have freedom to recruit as many trainees as they need within limited controls.
The School Direct training route has been allocated over 17,500 training places this year, representing 40 per cent of all training places. We are also supporting schools to retain good teachers by improving pupil behaviour, tackling unnecessary workload and increasing pay flexibility.
We are also creating a National Teaching Service (NTS). By 2020 this will have placed 1,500 high-performing teachers and middle leaders in underperforming schools in areas of England that struggle to recruit or retain high quality teachers. A pilot NTS scheme, starting in North West England in September 2016, will aim to attract 100 teachers and middle leaders into the region.