Curiouser & Curiouser

Now I may have done the DfE something of a dis-service with my last piece about scaremongering. Almost as I was writing it the DfE were publishing a Statistical Bulletin https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/229468/SFR_ITT_allocations_August_2013.pdf about ITT allocations and the changes from last November. This has allowed me to update my data about current trends to be much more accurate.

After looking at all the routes, including those that don’t recruit through nationally managed schemes, I still stand by my view that the targets are unlikely to be met this year. However, whether the targets are too high is another matter. For many years the employment-based routes weren’t subject to targets in the same manner as the traditional higher education and SCITT programmes were. After they were added to the targets overall numbers were quite rightly reduced to take account of the falling secondary school population. This year, it seems as if some employment-based providers that either lost out in the School Direct allocations or wanted another route have created some new SCITTs. These providers have acquired nearly 600 extra places since November, a similar number to the increase for the whole of the HE sector. Interestingly, by contrast, School Direct has only grown by 1.5%, or 145 places, since November and there has been a switch from the Salaried Route to the less expensive Training route of 5%. The undergraduate route has remained static at just under 6,800 places in some tables and 6,400 in others. Either way this route now accounts for less than a third of trainee primary school teachers.

ISurprisingly, Computer Science, a one-time favourite of the Secretary of State actually has now a reduced number of places in the August totals compared with November’s target. The decrease is of 73 places, close to a 10% reduction. Design & Technology also seems to have suffered a similar fate. What the Business Secretary will make of his Education colleague presiding over reductions in the sort of subjects that are key for the nation’s wealth producing industries I don’t know, but the fact the Statistical Bulletin doesn’t point these reductions out might be worthy of note in itself. By contrast, both history and PE have gained an additional 100 places each. Both subjects will have no difficulty filling these extra places as they are the two subjects where applications through the GTTR route in 2013 are above last year. Filling the extra places awarded in Mathematics and the Sciences may not be possible this year, and it does go to show why managing the whole recruitment cycle efficiently is important.

Finally, for some reason that is even less clear than in the past, Teach First numbers are excluded from consideration in the Bulletin. As Ministers keep announcing that it is an ever more important route into teaching, excluding the data from a discussion on ITT allocations seems bizarre to say the least. If there is nothing to hide, then I see no reason not to include Teach First data in the overall statistics. At the very least it would allow potential trainees to see the total numbers being trained. But then we don’t know the numbers being recruited without any training. How that total will be tracked is another interesting challenge for the sector.

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