An analysis of data provided by UCAS yesterday on applications to teacher preparation courses, and offers made to applicants, suggested that this year recruiting to teacher preparation courses will be even more of a challenge than last year. There is now a risk that unless the 5,000 applicants with interview requests outstanding or awaiting offer have a different success rate to those applying earlier in the year even primary courses may not meet their targets across England.
By 16th June some 23,000 applicants had been placed, conditionally placed or were holding offers against a target in excess of 29,000 graduates, excluding Teach First. With no more than 10 weeks to go before courses start, and the skills tests to pass, not to mention the school holidays, it will need an unprecedented effort to hit the targets in all subjects even at the lower level indicated by the DfE’s Teacher Supply Model; the NCTL allocations in many subjects are just pie in the sky now.
Bearing in mind that these are places on courses for those that want to become teachers ,the conversion rates on the different courses are interesting:
School Centred courses appear to have made a higher percentage of offers to applicants than other routes. In primary, the School Direct training route has made the same percentage of offer to applicants as higher education, but in secondary courses higher education has made a higher percentage of offers despite having seen its number of places decline compared with last year.
The interesting outcome is the apparent low percentage of offers to career changers applying for the School Direct Salaried route where offers appear below the totals achieved in many years under the former Graduate Teacher Programme. Only around one in eight applications to the secondary courses have been accepted. This means that only 910 applicants have been placed, conditionally placed, or were holding an offer on the 16th June for secondary School Direct Salaried places. In primary the total is 1,500 offers.
It is worth exploring whether this means that career switchers are less suitable for teaching, despite their greater experience than new graduates, and older graduates applying for the other routes? The NCTL should also make clear whether any salaried places have been returned by schools and re-allocated to other routes following the recent requests for providers of all types to take additional places in many subjects and the primary phase.
It is also worth noting that the DfE/NCTL decision to allow all legitimate bids in physics and mathematics doesn’t seem to be working. As a result, it is important to know whether it is distorting the regional picture with more places being accepted in some parts of the country than others.
The Royal Society paper on Vision published yesterday recognised the need for more teachers. These figures show that in the areas they mentioned this isn’t happening. Time for plan B?