Recruitment Controls 3

The news that recruitment controls have been applied to higher education recruiters of PE shouldn’t come as a surprise to any reader of this blog. On the 5th November, I wrote:

‘Earlier in the week I estimated it might be some time next week when recruitment controls would be introduced in PE’

So, it was a little surprising that rather than issue a warning civil servants apparently said on the 13th November

It has been two weeks since recruitment for 2016/17 began through UTT and we are pleased to report applicants are showing an interest in ITT. However, whilst recruitment is looking healthy – especially in some of the popular subjects such as Physical Education (PE) and Primary – there is no need to panic as we are not close to stopping recruitment just yet.

We have heard fears of recruitment controls being implemented in the coming weeks and recruitment being stopped altogether and wanted to reassure you that NCTL will announce whenever recruitment has reached around 50%, 75%, 90% and 95% of national recruitment controls. There will be no unexpected or immediate instruction from NCTL to stop recruitment.

Well, I don’t know what you interpret those two paragraphs to mean, and I am sure my blog comment didn’t lead to the line about rumours, but it seems disingenuous to put out such a statement and introduce controls a week later with no advance warning. I am sure it was just a lack of familiarity of the speed with which applications can arrive in our new electronic age compared with old days of postal sacks winging their way to UCAS at Cheltenham that forced the hand of civil servants.

Still, it does raise the issue of ‘Wednesbury reasonableness’ it anyone wanted to mount a judicial review. Is it reasonable to offer candidates three choices but to be able to cut off some of these after a person has booked an expensive train ticket or should an applicant be able to expect the same rules for all of their choices?

It is not for me to answer that question, but it would surely have been better to introduce controls alongside a fixed application date. This would have allowed all applications by that date to have been considered and if the overall total exceeded the point at which controls would need to have been introduced the course providers could each have been told how many offers they could make and would, presumably, have selected the best rather than the fastest to apply as has now happened. The current system also discriminates against late applicants and if it can be shown that it has favoured certain groups over others that won’t help defend a charge of it being a reasonable system.

Whether it is reasonable to use public money to favour certain types of provider is also a question for the lawyers. But, I hope that a better and fairer scheme will be devised for next year.

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9 thoughts on “Recruitment Controls 3

  1. You have to feel for all those P.E. applicants who were due to be interviewed this week for their HEI place. However, if those students are adamant they want a HEI place rather than an SD or SCITT place what right has the government to intervene in the market?

  2. I’m struggling to comprehend how this system can be legal or, more importantly, how it will result in the supply of high quality graduates into the teaching profession. There are many perverse incentives.

    At MMU, we have always tried to take the right candidates into our PGCE programmes, and these candidates do apply at various points in the year. It is important to take time in the application process, weigh up the merits of each candidate and take a considered view.

    The current system falls at all these hurdles and rewards those who rush to judgement.

    • I do also worry about gender and others. The men apply late for English and Primary, the mature students have to get a lot of things lined up to be able to apply – there will be some unforeseen consequences.
      Lastly, what happens if they close HEI and we then have to watch painfully all year for SD and SCITT to not fill their quota? Will they reopen HEI once again? Surely better to let HEI over recruit if it means the headline TSM number is reached?

      • I doubt that will happen in PE or history and most other subjects may not meet the TSM number unless recruitment picks up this year even after taking off the Teach First numbers. Primary is a bit more of an issue and it might be worth creating reserve lists as no doubt happens already where you offer a place if one becomes available. I do worth about applicants from minority backgrounds under the recruitment control methodology. However, the NCTL/DfE will no doubt say that such applicants can apply for the remaining school places.
        John

  3. With no warning whatsoever, I have just heard they have shut English for HEIs, but the numbers don’t make sense. They are no where near the limits. Any ideas John?

    • The total number of applicants isn’t easy to calculate fully from the UCAS daily data but it looks as if the 430 Teach First plus 1250 Schol Direct threshold when added to the 650 possible HEI offers get close to the 2,250 Teacher Supply Model number so controls are imposed on HEIs to allow Schools to reach their 1250 threshold. I guess it is reserve offers to fill dropouts from now on until it becomes clear whether the schools can make the 1250. Why there wasn’t a closing date which would allow all applicants before that date to be considered I find curious to say the least.

      John Howson

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