The idea of tight daily controls on recruitment for graduate teacher preparation courses starting in the autumn of 2016 was never very popular with those charged with the task of recruiting trainees. The fact that, despite it seemingly being rigidly administered, the scheme appears not to have worked effectively in some easy to recruit subjects demands an explanation. No doubt the Select Committee can ask questions about what happened, especially late in the recruitment round, before they finally write their long-awaited report into teacher supply.
It seems indefensible that PE recruited 10% more trainees than the target. That’s nearly 100 extra compared with the Teacher Supply Model figure issued in autumn 2015. As TeachVac data has shown, for the past two years there have been fewer teaching vacancies than there are trainees by a couple of hundred each year in PE, so it seems morally wrong to recruit trainees, saddle them with a debt of £9,000 in fees in many cases and effectively not be able offer all of them the chance of a teaching post. Even if the target had been met, there would, probably have been more trainees than needed in 2017, but at least, there would have been some justification for the number recruited.
The same issue arises from a review of the census data on recruitment in history and geography, where in total over 200 extra trainees have been recruited. The geographers may well find a job in 2017, but many of the historians won’t unless that is they are prepared to teach humanities rather than just history or there is a sudden increase in demand by schools. Some biologist may also be in the same situation, because this subject also over-recruited, but at least they can be recruited to teach science generally at Key Stage 3.
What was the point of putting everyone to the trouble of seemingly rigid recruitment controls and to create this outcome? In the cases of PE, history and geography it seems to be the School Direct Fee route that has been responsible for the majority of the over-recruitment. In the case of Geography, had Teach First fully recruited to the original allocation total set in autumn 2015, then the over-recruitment would have been worse. As all routes were subject to the same controls, there must be some questions to ask, especially since the majority of the routes all used the same admissions process managed by UCAS.
Overall, Teach First has 2,000 places and are shown as filling 1,375, whereas schools had 3,275 salaried places of which 3,159 were filled. Schools had 9,874 ‘fee’ places either on School Direct or in SCITTs and filled 10,527. Higher Education had 14,027 places and filled only 11,992 of them. The 1,409 School Direct salaried teachers in secondary schools seem like a small number, especially when almost half of the total are trainees in either mathematics or English. Music, drama and Design and Technology have so few salaried trainees that the numbers cannot be disclosed. Indeed, Design & Technology is once again a major disaster area across all routes: but more of that in another post at the weekend.