UCAS have now published the final statistical report on the 2013 applications for the GTTR teacher preparation scheme. This was the scheme that operated for nearly two decades across England, Wales and Scotland. As from the 2014 entry, the GTTR scheme has been replaced by the new, and in England, vastly more complex scheme designed to allow more choice to applicants.
The GTTR Report allows us to put some flesh on the bare bones of the DfE’s ITT November 2013 census, especially in the secondary sector where there are relatively few undergraduate places and most providers’ applications, except the lamented OU course , were handled by GTTR. The first point to note is the confirmation of the continued decline in applications that peaked at more than 67,000 for the 2010 entry. By the 2013 round, applications were down to 52,254; below the pre-recession figure of 53,931, achieved in the 2007 round. Both the number of men and of women applying was below the 2007 levels in 2013, although applications from men to primary courses seemed to have held up better than for applications to secondary courses.
Because of changes in allocations, the ratio of acceptances to applications actually fell by one point to 44% in 2013. This is still some way below the 49% acceptance rate of 2008, achieved in the run up to the recession. If allocations have reached their nadir, then it seems likely that the acceptance ratio will move higher unless either more applicants can be attracted to teaching or places are left unfilled. Much will depend upon the attitude of schools in the School Direct programme to marginal candidates, and whether they sense that enough progress can be made during the preparation to make it worth trying to help them become acceptable teachers.
Within the data are some worrying figures. Some 49% of women, but 56% of men that applied were not accepted. Sadly, the report doesn’t make clear how many could not find a course because they left their application too late, and how many were considered not good enough. Even more worrying is the data on ethnicity. While 40,897 of the more than 52,000 applicants classified themselves as White, leaving around 10,000 from a defined ethnic group other than White, the percentages accepted differ sharply between the groups. Some 46.7% of White applicants were accepted, compared with just 17.2% of Black African applicants, and 28.7 of Black Caribbean applicants. At the subject level the figures are even starker. In history, curiously seen as an Arts subject by GTTR rather than a social science or humanity subject, perhaps no more than three Black African or Black Caribbean applicant or those shown as White and Black Caribbean were accepted anywhere in the country out of the 30 or so that applied compared with a better than one in four chance for the White group. As in the past this may reflect the relatively narrow range of institutions applicants from some ethnic groups apply to, and the issues that this causes. For instance of the 4,708 applications generated by the 1,510 Black African applicants, some 1,664 were made to just six providers in the London area. In one case, 344 applications yielded 23 acceptances.
One other trend worthy of note was that applicants over the age of 30, the classic career changers, declined as a proportion of all applicants from 22% in 2012 to 19% in 2013. This makes the current attitudes of new graduates towards teaching as a career even more important than during the recession. At least, the number of mature applicants is holding up so far for the 2014 entry, accounting for 22% of those that had applied by February.