The announcement earlier in the week of the Teacher Supply Model numbers and recruitment thresholds for teacher training in 2016/17 was rather overshadowed by the decision on a selective school expansion programme in Kent. That is an issue I have written about previously on this blog and may well return to again. However, others have already made the case eloquently about how backward a move this is in reality.
But, to return to teacher training because, despite Michael Gove’s assertion that teaching doesn’t need any preparation for the job, most of us think it isn’t as easy to walk into a classroom as in to a job in either of the Houses of Parliament.
The key message from this week’s announcement is; more maths training places; a similar number of places to this year’s training numbers in other EBacc subjects and fewer places in the non-EBacc subjects. In primary, the big growth period is now over unless there is a change in teacher numbersin employment, perhaps through more departures from the profession among young women that make up a sizeable proportion of the primary school teaching force these days.
Why I have headed this blog ‘big brother’ is because, although there are no allocations this year, there are recruitment control thresholds that protect Teach First -included in the Teacher Supply Model number for the first time, at least publically – and School Direct plus SCITT routes. As there are no published thresholds for higher education providers, they are at risk if the school routes recruit quickly above the minimum recruitment level. This is only likely to be a possibility in history, PE, primary and according to the government English – although I think that less likely.
In order to monitor what is happening and prevent over-recruitment that might stop schools reaching their minimum threshold the National College can issue compulsory stop notices on further offers to providers. This effectively bans future offers being made, although presumably allowing replacements for anyone that drops out? The College will also monitor the UCAS system on a daily basis for the number of offers being made and may also step in if regional patterns are distorted in such a manner as to risk leaving parts of the country short of teachers in certain subjects.
Interestingly, there seems little concern for the applicants in this process. I would advise applicants against booking tickets to interviews until the day before in case the provider is suddenly capped, especially if it is a university PGCE course. Indeed, it might be fanciful to suggest that even during an interview a candidate could be told by the provider that they no longer have any places left because it has been ‘capped’.
However, for this to happen, even in most of the non-EBacc subjects recruitment in 2016-17 is likely to have to improve on that expected to be recorded in the 2015 ITT census that is to be published next month, so it will only really worry those applying in the subjects listed above where providers are likely to find it easy to recruit to the TSM number.
Finally, I have concerns about whether we really need to train 999 PE teachers in 2016-17 and only 252 business studies teachers. This is based upon the TeachVac vacancy data were have recorded this year, but that may well be something to discuss with the statisticians.