Christmas presents

Last Friday afternoon the DfE published their evidence to the Teachers’ Pay Review Body: not many noticed. The Sunday Times published something, and indeed rang me last Friday morning to ask about numbers of unqualified teachers. Here’s what I told them:

An unqualified teacher is either a trainee working towards QTS; an overseas trained teacher who has not exceeded the four years they are allowed to teach without having QTS; or an instructor who has a particular skill who can be employed for so long as a qualified teacher is not available.  

As a result it may be that the increased number of School Direct trainees that started in September 2013 are being counted in the totals for the first time. However, as reports from ASCL of staffing pressures do seem to be emerging that may also contribute to the increase. The continued switch of schools from LA to converter academy makes year on year comparisons between types of school challenging. 

2012 Workforce Tables had following for unqualified teachers:
2010   2011   2012
LA Primary                                   4,100 4,200 3,700
Pri Academies                                          100    500
LA secondary                             8,100 5,400  3,400
Academies                                           3,800  4,700
Total non-academies            11,600 10,400 10,600
Academies                                2,200  3,900  5,300
Total publicly
funded education                 17,800 15,800 14,800


Of the 2453 academies in the 2012 Workforce Census 

915 employed 100% QTS teachers

65 data NA

6 suppressed data – too small to disclose

1467 or 59% at least 1 unqualified teacher

Of those with highest %s 2 were special schools, and 1 a post-16 campus. Only 6 schools with below 50% qualified teachers

On free schools

Of the 88 in the census, 37 employed 100% QTS teachers; 12 data suppressed; and 8 NA.

So 31 of the 88 known to employ unqualified teachers. That’s 35%.

So, if the 2013 Workforce Survey conducted in November is showing something different it may well is down to School Direct. If that is the case, then it is time for a new category of ‘trainee teacher’ to distinguish trainees from those employed because a qualified teacher either isn’t wanted or cannot be found. Indeed, there might be two categories, one for intentional use of unqualified staff and the other due to absence of a qualified teacher. The term ‘teacher’ might even become a reserved occupational term reserved for those with QTS.

If the DfE’s evidence to the STRB passed almost without notice, then the Labour Party’s Christmas Eve press release warning of a shortage in trainee teachers under this government seems to have received even less recognition so far despite the DfE going to the trouble of issuing a rebuttal. You can read Labour’s research at Regular readers of this blog will recognise most of the figures, although the number of trainees recruited for 2013/14 is less than in the DfE’s November census for some unexplained reason.

Now normally I wouldn’t quote from a Labour Press release, but as its Christmas, and what it says chimes with what I have been saying both here and with Chris Waterman elsewhere, I am happy to provide the link. I also notice that the release doesn’t offer any policy alternative to the problem: so no responsible alternative government here then.

Trainee teacher recruitment is likely to be a key issue in 2014 with both Michael Wilshaw and the head of NCTL, Mr Taylor, likely to be making speeches in January about teacher training. Both are Gove’s men, so expect School Direct to feature more positively than higher education. But look for the balance of comments between primary and secondary for, in my judgement, it is the former that needs more attention than the latter in terms of reviewing how we prepare teachers for the classroom.

I hope readers enjoy Christmas and the festivities of this time of year through to the start of 2014 and the first anniversary of this blog.


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