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Have your say - Training New Teachers inquiry

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by HouseOfCommons, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. HouseOfCommons

    HouseOfCommons New commenter

    Each year some 35,000 people start training for qualified teacher status. The Department for Education aims to assure the supply of new teachers, to raise the quality of teaching and to give teachers and head teachers greater professional autonomy and responsibility over recruitment and training. Government spends approximately £700 million a year training new teachers.

    The Public Accounts Committee will examine whether the Department’s arrangements to train new teachers are value for money. It will consider whether the system produces sufficient numbers of new teachers of the right quality for schools and whether the Department has effective oversight of the market of initial teacher training providers.

    Evidence would be welcomed from all types of teacher (primary and secondary), so that the Committee can hear from an audience of teachers who have trained through a variety of routes. Please share your thoughts to the following questions by 10am on Thursday 3 March.


    • What challenges are there in attracting people to start training as teachers?
    • What have been the impact of changes to initial teacher training, such as the increasing number of school-led routes?
    • How easy is it for potential teachers to make an informed choice about the range of teacher training options available?
  2. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    1 Lets see-- salary, workload, bad press and an undervalued role to start with!
    2 There are not enough school led routes to cater for the supply of teachers needed. Schools are under too much time and resource pressure to also act as teacher trainers and workforce planners. If you are serious about school led training then fund it properly.
    3 There is total confusion about how to train with competing and unclear routes and confusion about the value of postgraduate level qualification in ITT.
  3. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

  4. HouseOfCommons

    HouseOfCommons New commenter

    Hi welshwizard,

    Many thanks for taking part in the inquiry and sharing your comments.

    The Public Accounts Committee will be taking a look at all the comments shared in this forum so you do not need to go through the inquiry link above unless you do not want your comments to be public.
  5. varcolac

    varcolac Occasional commenter

    I agree with these points.

    1. Salary and workload are bad enough without the government, the inspectorate and Tom Dick and Harry criticising us for every last thing. I wanted to become a teacher no matter what, so it didn't faze me much, but others might well have bottled from the prospect of being a punching bag for politicians for the rest of their working lives.

    2. Increasing number of routes, reduction in quality, quantity and consistency. A big organisation like Teach First can certainly have consistent numbers and consistent training, but leaving up to the local comp to source its own teachers through ITT? Give me a break, workload's bad enough as it is.

    3. Impossible. Absolutely impossible. I find it difficult to make the distinction between all the routes as a qualified teacher, so someone coming in to the teaching profession would be likely even more swamped. There are far too many routes, leading to such inconsistency. The same programme on paper at two different schools could be completely different. PGCEs have at least the consistency of the University portion of the course, but it seems the current Government is trying to do away with those.
  6. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    Apart from the extremely variable quality, one major issue with school based training is that it promotes a parochial approach of staying where you trained, far more so than do university based routes. This is fine for those in a leafy suburb adjoining a Russell Group university where they have well trained graduates on tap, but places those areas where this is not the case at a huge disadvantage. Who in their right mind would decide to relocate and cough up nine grand in fees to a school far from home that they know nothing about, even assuming they could navigate the tortuous process of finding and approaching said school...
  7. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    Agree John I see the appeal of the "rationale" of SD- pass the responsibility for planning across to the schools who can recruit teachers and train at the same time. However that is a naïve viewpoint. Schools have to apply for places so far ahead that they can't accurately predict the staff needed 2-3 yrs. in the future. The real failing is in the Primary Sector where there are not enough teaching schools and/or schools with the resource capacity to develop ITT from a standing start. Hence the current problems.
  8. HouseOfCommons

    HouseOfCommons New commenter

    On Monday 7 March from 4pm, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee will hear evidence on training new teachers.

    The comments you have been sharing in this forum will be used to inform this session.

    The Committee will hear from:
    • Professor Kevin Mattinson, Head of School of Education, Birmingham City University
    • Russell Hobby, General Secretary, National Association of Headteachers
    • Philip Eastwood, Director of ITT, Mersey Boroughs ITT Partnership
    • Rachel Shaw, Headteacher, Branston Junior Academy
    • Chris Wormald, Permanent Secretary, Department for Education
    • Sinead O'Sullivan, Director of Programme Delivery, National College for Teaching and Leadership
    Watch the session in full on Parliament TV.

  9. RedRooster2

    RedRooster2 New commenter

  10. RedRooster2

    RedRooster2 New commenter

    I switched from a different career last year. I took out a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan as I have a family to support and the bursary only covered my fees. The application system was chaotic and tailored to recent university leavers. The SchoolDirect website and other government information about careers as a teacher was blatantly misleading and unhelpful.
    I took a SchoolDirect route in which my school tutor was given just one hour per week to teach me everything I needed to know about teaching and to complete all the university paperwork so that I could document my progress. There was no information available to me from the school about what form my training would take.The teacher assigned to me made it clear that the school were only training SchoolDirect teachers because of the extra money available. She was very angry that she had been given the role because it took up so much of her time. This teacher was known to be a weak teacher within her department. I was often asked to cover lessons and take Parents' evenings alone, even though this is technically not allowed.
    The university that was providing the PGCE part of my training had not altered its course at all to allow for the fact that School Direct students were based full-time in schools. This meant that I had to complete all of my essays and university study (at Master's degree level) at the weekends and across the holidays. I received absolutely no subject specific training (for Secondary English) because nobody had decided who was responsible for providing that part of my training. To say that the university was setting up SchoolDirect students to fail is an understatement. The university hated the idea of the course and made it clear they were only taking part in SchoolDirect because they had to. I was told if I had wanted 'proper' training I should have taken the full PGCE based at the university.
    My school-based training has made me a better teacher and my new school think I'm a great teacher - but sadly I'm leaving at the end of my qualifying year because I'm working 60-70 hour weeks and I've decided I want to earn more than ten pounds an hour. I'm also tired of being sworn at by parents and students and having extra (unpaid) responsibilities piled on me. I don't think anyone could be a teacher in the current state of the profession and expect to last more than ten years. The degree of pressure and the amount of workload make it unsustainable.
  11. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    Thankyou RedRooster2 a well written response of where we are and I hope Common Public Accounts Committee use your piece
  12. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    OK so the Committee are hearing from the great and good (and not so good) but these are exactly the same institutions/people who contributed to the last review which led to the National Audit Report. Cue dust off what was said last time!
    One key failing identified in that report was lack of a local perspective- ASK the schools about the issues in their area get the local representation not the National picture which you already have.
  13. Landofla

    Landofla Established commenter

    • What challenges are there in attracting people to start training as teachers?
    Pathetic salary and work-life balance. I know of quite a few grads who do the training just for the bursary with no intention whatsoever of ever being an NQT.

    I can't answer the final two questions as I literally have no idea & I'm a teacher. Surely that speaks volumes.

    Wouldn't it be lovely to see the impact of changes made to salary and work-life balance?
  14. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    I know that but the MPs during the public accounts meeting today did not know that there is no requirement to pay this money back and to top it all students from any EU country with an equivalent degree can come here get the bursary and then go back to their own country.
  15. Landofla

    Landofla Established commenter

    No way @applecrumblebumble I didn't know that last part either. Shocking!

    Begs asking the question, who on earth devises these schemes?
  16. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    The same civil servants advising the ministers!
    Landofla likes this.
  17. HouseOfCommons

    HouseOfCommons New commenter

    The Public Accounts Committee has published its report on training new teachers. The report calls for an urgent review of teacher training in England, concluding the Government fails to understand the difficulties many schools face in recruiting teachers.

    Read the report:Training new teachers

    Report findings
    In their report the Committee warns that while the Department for Education has missed its targets to fill teacher training places for four years running, it has "no plan for how to achieve them in future".

    It highlights wide variations in the availability of training places across England, noting also that schools in poorer areas, in isolated parts of the country and with low academic performance, struggle to recruit good teachers.

    The Report says the range of routes into teaching is confusing for applicants and points to the Department's current approach to allocating training places as a possible barrier to improving quality.

    Committee unconvinced £620 million bursary scheme delivery value for money
    The Committee is not convinced the Department's bursary scheme, on which it spent £620 million over the five years to 2014–15, delivers value for money—in part because "it does not track whether the recipients of bursaries go on to complete their training, qualify as teachers and enter the workforce in state-funded schools in England".

    The Committee is also concerned that a growing number of pupils are taught by teachers without a subject-relevant post A-level qualification, stating that "the Department is ultimately responsible for making sure headteachers can find enough teachers to teach in the subjects they need".

    Clear plan for teacher supply needs developing
    The Committee calls on the Department to report back by the end of August on the extent and impact of teachers taking lessons they are not qualified in.

    Among its other recommendations, it urges the Department and the National College to develop "a clear plan" for teacher supply covering at least the next three years.

    The same bodies should also set out "when and how" they will talk more to school leaders about recruitment issues "and demonstrate how they will use that information to plan interventions more carefully, especially the future location of training places".

    Chair's comments
    Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the PAC, said:

    "Training teachers is too important to get wrong but the Government has taken too little responsibility for getting it right.

    The Department for Education has repeatedly missed its target to fill training places. At the same time, it has remained woefully aloof from concerns raised by frontline staff and freely available evidence.

    The Department takes comfort from national statistics but pays insufficient heed to the fact that teaching happens locally, in individual schools.

    It is a basic point but one worth spelling out for the Government’s benefit: variations in the supply and quality of teachers at local level can significantly affect pupils' educational attainment and life prospects.

    The Department sees a role for its School Direct programme in addressing this yet more than half of state-funded schools, many of them in isolated or deprived areas, are not involved.

    This highlights the disconnect between real-world problems and a government department whose haphazard approach to teacher training risks putting pupils' futures in jeopardy.

    We were alarmed to learn that so many pupils are being taught by teachers without higher level qualifications in the subjects they are teaching. Young people's futures should not be limited because of a shortage of subject-qualified teachers.

    The Department must develop sustainable policies that fully consider the recruitment difficulties facing schools, the shortage of applicants for training places and the educational needs of pupils.

    That means properly evaluating its methods and identifying and pursuing those which represent best value for public money.

    The Department will likely point out it has published a white paper proposing further changes to training.

    In response, we would say this is far from a guarantee of results and it remains to be seen if it leads to action that addresses some or indeed any of our concerns."

    Report summary
    Training enough new teachers, of the right quality, is central to the performance of our schools and the life chances of pupils.

    We are, therefore, disappointed that the Department has missed its targets to fill teacher training places four years running, with significant shortfalls in some subjects.

    There is a lot of good teaching delivered by teachers who do excellent jobs day in, day out, in classrooms across the country. One consequence of shortfalls is that a significant proportion of lessons in some important subjects is being taught by teachers without relevant post-A-level qualifications.

    The Department is reassured by the national picture that its statistics paint about teacher numbers but these numbers disguise significant local variation and do not reflect the difficulties headteachers experience across the country when they try to recruit teachers.

    Approach to recruitment "reactive and lacks coherence"
    From its national vantage point the Department does not understand, and shows little curiosity about, the size and extent of teacher shortages around the country and assumes headteachers will deal with gaps.

    Despite repeatedly missing its targets, the Department shows no sense of leadership or urgency in making sure there are sufficient new teachers to meet schools' future needs.

    The Department has been introducing new methods for recruiting teachers for some years but many of its plans are experimental, unevaluated and still evolving. Its approach is reactive and lacks coherence.

    It has introduced new school-led training but the result is confusing for applicants and the annual changes to the way training places are allocated mean that training providers cannot plan for the future.

    Department needs to "assess which of its approaches work"
    Furthermore, the Department was unable to provide good evidence that the hundreds of millions of pounds spent on training routes and bursaries, some of which have been in place for a number of years, are resulting in more, better quality teachers in classrooms.

    While the system needs a degree of flexibility, the Department should also try to increase stability and do more to assess which of its approaches work and which do not.

    We are aware that some of the measures proposed in the March 2016 white paper, Educational Excellence Everywhere, if implemented effectively, could address some of our recommendations but for the moment the challenges, and our conclusions, remain unaddressed.
  18. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    A thorough assessment of a very worrying situation lets hope DfE finally wake up!
  19. cellerdore

    cellerdore Occasional commenter

    While this is a report on teacher training, I cannot help but feel it should have mentioned the issues with retention of teachers. It is a well-known fact that nearly half of all teachers leave the job after 5 years, if they could go some way to address this would there even be a problem with recruiting?
  20. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    Is that a squadron of pigs flying up over the Thames, WW?

    Besides, everything the DfE do at the moment is geared towards making things worse.

    I had my two pennyworth on this one over on the student teacher forum, for what little it's worth.

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