Michael Gove

School Direct programme trashed as Teacher Training misses targets

By: The Leader
Published: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 09:50 GMT Jump to Comments

The School Direct programme, designed to deliver a steady flow of new teachers, is threatening to produce a massive shortfall only two years after it was launched.

In evidence to the Education Select Committee, think tank Million+ has warned that the system of planning teacher training in England has broken down. There is a risk, say the think tankers, of a teacher shortage in the future.

The problem it seems is that the Department for Education (DfE) thinks that the schools should lead the commissioning of teacher training but there is no guarantee, nor indeed much hope, that this will deliver the necessary numbers of trained teachers that will be needed.

In 2012, the DfE School Direct programme transferred the responsibility for filling 9000 teacher training places from universities to schools. The expectation was that schools would recruit trainee teachers who would commence training in September 2013.

At the end of the summer term, it is estimated that just under half of these places (45 per cent) were unfilled with many specialist subject trainee places vacant.

Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of Million+, said: "School Direct was introduced without any robust assessment of its impact on teacher supply", adding, "By the end of next year, 3000 fewer teachers are likely to have been trained risking a crisis in teacher recruitment at the very time that the school population is rising".

The combined impact of the new Ofsted regime, says Tatlow, the transfer of places to schools which are clearly finding it difficult to recruit suitable applicants, and new rules which debar universities from having any guarantee of training numbers has created a triple whammy.

Million+ say some universities that have hitherto been acknowledged as suppliers of high quality teacher training are thinking of stopping teacher training altogether because of the uncertainty that has been created.

School Direct? Does all this sound familiar? A lack of joined up thinking. Failure to do the sums. Failure to ask the right people for advice. A failure to listen to the advice when it is given. Good intentions come to naught. Poorly planned tinkering that begins to fall over within a year of inception. School Direct and NHS Direct/111. Spot the difference.

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