Time for a final word on the teacher training issue until the ITT census is published in November. At the end of June this year I conducted a full review of the availability of places as shown on the School Direct web site. This has led me to consider on this blog the likely outcome for different subjects. I grouped the subjects into three categories:
Those subjects where all places are likely to be taken up in 2013
Those subjects where there is some risk in one route of not all places being filled
English – both routes
Music – training route
Physical Education – training route
History – training route
Those subjects where there is a substantial risk of a serious shortfall against places available (33%+) in one or both routes
Design & Technology
So how did I do in my predictions? Well I got one right in the first group. Art met its target. Primary got to 98%, so that was nearly there, although we await any late drop outs after failure in the pre-entry tests. Business Studies only filled 84% of their places, but to be fair to them there was a late increase in the target, so it is not really a strict comparison with my prediction.
In the second group, Music missed its target, but the other three subjects were fine. In the last group, Chemistry was the only subject to meet the target, but the target was lower than in recent years, and well below the published allocation. All the other subjects fell short according to NCTL figures published this week except for Design & Technology that has disappeared into the ‘other’ category for some reason, so the specific outcome isn’t known.
Now, if I could predict this outcome at the end of June, I must assume the NCTL know what was likely in terms of outcomes at the same time, especially as they knew the ‘real’ targets as opposed to the inflated ‘allocations’ the rest of us were using. It would be legitimate to ask what steps they took at that point to try to improve the situation. Did any provider hear from them about the risk of a shortfall or were they silent until Monday of this week? Why was a DfE spokesperson, helpfully anonymous, quoted by the Daily Mail on the 14th August as saying of my delving into the current teacher training position that there was no teacher shortage, adding: ‘This is scaremongering and based on incomplete evidence.’ This was despite the fact that I hadn’t said that there was going to be a teacher shortage, just that training places were not being filled: not the same thing.
I sincerely hope that we can have more transparency next year. Ministers may not like my message, but I resent being called a ‘scaremonger’ for exposing the real position. I believe in open government, and I am disappointed when Ministers don’t support that view. This was not an issue of national security, but it may well be an issue of national success if we cannot find and train enough teachers over the next few years. I suggest the Minister sets up a review panel to consider the data on a regular basis. He might even invite UCAS to ask the GTTR Advisory Board to perform that function since two of its members appeared in front of the Select Committee this morning to give evidence. They are clearly knowledgeable about the topic.