TEACHERS are better qualified than ever before, according to official figures.
The Training and Development Agency for Schools says more teachers now hold first-class honours or upper second-class degrees.
There has also been an increase in teachers qualifying from minority ethnic backgrounds, those with disabilities and male primary trainee teachers.
Trends in Huddersfield mirror the national picture with the university – which this year celebrates its 60th year of training people for further education teaching – contributing to the figures.
John Trafford, a head of department in its School of Education, said he was delighted with the high quality of applicants and graduates to the school.
He added: “In Huddersfield we accept quite a lot of people on to the course who are career changes and in their 30s and 40s.
“Last year we were among the best results in the country for newly qualified teachers.
“About 170 secondary school teachers qualify from the course each year and 20 will this year graduate from the BA early primary education course for the first time.
“We embrace the philosophy of educating teachers for working with people from the cradle to the grave, from the very youngest early years children right through to secondary, post 16, further education and adult education courses.
“We are delighted to be contributing to the national picture.”
The TDA said that in 2005/6, 58% of first-year post-graduate trainee teachers with a UK degree held a 2:1 or first, as against 51% seven years ago.
In total, 90% of first-year postgraduate trainees with a UK degree held a 2:2 or better.
The data, which was collected from the universities, colleges and schools that provide teacher training, also shows that the TDA’s teacher recruitment campaign is attracting an increasingly diverse generation of new teachers.
11.4% of first-year trainees said they were from a minority ethnic background (206 more trainees than in 2004/5);
5% of first-year trainees said they had a disability (88 more trainees than in 2004/5); and
14% of new primary trainees were men (107 more trainees than in 2004/5).
Graham Holley, the TDA’s chief executive, said: “These latest figures show that teaching is attracting record numbers of top-quality graduates.
“The Ofsted watchdog has already rated the quality of teacher training, and the quality of new teachers, to be the best ever.
“Together with a new drive to improve the training and development of teachers and support staff, head teachers and parents can be confident that today’s children are being taught by the most highly trained school workforce to date.’’