'Championing the rights of children'

England's teacher training system 'broken down'

Garry Tue 30 Jul 2013 09:47

The system of planning teacher training in England has broken down and risks a future shortage of teachers, a university think tank says.

The Department for Education has switched about 9,000 teacher training places from universities to schools under its School Direct programme.

But Million+ predicts, with only 45% of places on it filled, there will be 3,000 fewer teachers trained by 2014.

The government said heads were choosing "only the brightest graduates".

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said the programme was "a response to what schools told us they wanted, a greater role in selecting and recruiting trainees with potential to be outstanding teachers".

She added the programme was proving "extremely popular". By May some 22,500 people had applied for half as many places.

She added head teachers had rightly been choosey, only accepting graduates with the highest skills.

The Commons Education Select Committee is conducting an inquiry into teacher training and has just published evidence submitted to it.

In her evidence to the committee, Pam Tatlow, chief executive of Million+ - a think tank that also represents newer universities - said School Direct, , which is focused around on-the-job, school-based training, had been introduced "without any robust assessment of its impact on teacher supply".

"Ministers say that schools should lead the commissioning of teacher training, but it is clear that this will not guarantee the number of trained teachers that will be needed by schools across the country in the future.

"Universities that have run very successful programmes to enhance the expertise of prospective teachers in key specialist shortage subjects are not being allocated numbers."

She added: "The combined impact of the new Ofsted regime under which fewer schools are being classed as outstanding, new rules which debar universities rated as good teacher training providers from having any guarantee of training numbers and the transfer of places to schools which are clearly finding it difficult to recruit suitable applicants has created a triple whammy.

Read more... (BBC News - 30 July)