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Who wants to be a teacher? Findings from a survey of undergraduates in England

Gorard, Stephen; Ventista, Ourania Maria; Morris, Rebecca; See, Beng Huat

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Ourania Maria Ventista

Rebecca Morris


R Askew


Having enough (appropriate) teachers is a foundation for a good education system, yet teacher shortages in some areas and subjects are a widespread problem. This paper examines the views of 4,469 undergraduate students in 53 universities in England, with a few follow-up interviews, on what they are looking for in their envisaged future career. In this way, the analysis goes beyond the usual approach by including young people completely uninterested in teaching, those who considered teaching but rejected it, and those intending to be teachers. The study shows that prospective teachers tend to come from less prestigious occupational and educational backgrounds than their peers at university, have lower qualifications, and to study more generic subject areas with no clear occupational end point. They report an interest in sharing their knowledge and giving something back to society, more than pay and prospects, discipline, workload or similar issues. Financial incentives might appear to be important, but their role disappears when the outcomes are modelled using logistic regression, with predictors entered in biographical order. These, and other differences to the standard picture, are discussed in the concluding section that shows why this inclusive and biographical approach provides an important corrective on how to attract new teachers to the profession.


Gorard, S., Ventista, O. M., Morris, R., & See, B. H. (2023). Who wants to be a teacher? Findings from a survey of undergraduates in England. Educational Studies, 49(6),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 7, 2021
Online Publication Date Apr 15, 2021
Publication Date 2023-11
Deposit Date Apr 7, 2021
Publicly Available Date Apr 29, 2021
Journal Educational studies.
Print ISSN 0305-5698
Electronic ISSN 1465-3400
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 6
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Copyright Statement
Latest Articles © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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