Earlier in the week I estimated it might be some time next week when recruitment controls would be introduced in PE. I speculated that the university providers in the North West might be the first to receive the email from the NCTL imposing these controls. After looking at the data issued today from UCAS at, https://www.ucas.com/sites/default/files/dcs_03_05nov2015.pdf I am inclined to think that by the end of this week HEIs across the country may be told to put on the brakes and some schools may also be receiving warnings that the position in their region is such as to bring recruitment under close scrutiny. Controls across the board in PE may not be far off being imposed.
Viewing the UCAS data showed some 1,035 applicants are already in the system looking for a place on a PE programme. However, as this is from the table that measures applicants by course type, UCAs staff have confirmed to me that some applicants have applied to more than one route leading to over-counting in relation to actual applicant numbers. As another UCAS table shows applicants at 670 and that number is the more accurate figure for the number of bodies that have applied. Even so, this means that within a short period of the admissions process opening applicants for more than two thirds of places have applied to train as a PE teacher.
That’s applicants, not applications. As the Teacher Supply Model figure for 2016 showed only 999 places required to be filled – forget the 2,166 places allocated as that number is now irrelevant – there are already more applicants than trainees needed in the system: would that it were so in Physics as well where, despite the generous bursaries and scholarships, there are only around 30 recorded applicants already in the system.
I am sure that there will be a rush by HEIs that don’t have any safety net under the present system, unlike the School Direct providers, to make offers as fast as possible before they are capped. Now with the demand for both men and women to teach the subject this may pose some problems for schools in 2017 if there is a considerable gender imbalance as a result of a large number of early offers being made.
One solution might have been to create a closing date, as there used to be in primary, to allow all applicants that applied by that date to be considered. It wasn’t a perfect solution, and was open to abuse, but it did neutralise the benefit of an early application and allowed the best candidates from a time period to be recruited. Still, it is too late to do anything like that now.
As expected, English, history and primary have attracted significant numbers of early applications, but not in the same league as in PE. It seems that even the prospect of £9,000 and no help with living costs isn’t putting of applicants to train as a PE teacher. Interestingly, we don’t have a breakdown of the age profile of those that have applied to see whether it mainly undergraduates or career changers that form the bulk of those that applied when the admissions system opened. My hunch would be more undergraduates than thirty somethings.
I am not sure how often I will look at these figures because of the time it takes, but possibly once a month. Daily figures are a long way from the situation in 2013 when even publishing the data in August revealing a possible crisis meant big trouble for the writer of this blog. But then the world didn’t know what they know now about teacher supply.
i am also grateful to UCAS staff for drawing my attention to the need to be clear about applicants and their choices and individual applicants as a body of individuals.