Disturbing profile data on new teachers

Yesterday, the DfE published its annual survey of ITT providers, through an analysis of their outcomes

Initial teacher training performance profiles: 2020 to 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

One of the most revealing tables in the report is reproduced below.

Summary of final year postgraduate trainee outcomes for the 2020/21 academic year

Percentage awarded QTSPercentage of those awarded QTS teaching in a state school
AgeUnder 259072
25 and Over8673
DisabilityDeclared8168
None declared8873
Ethnic groupAsian8164
Black7865
Mixed ethnicity8672
Other8266
White8974
GenderMale8471
Female8973
Source DfE

For every one of the groupings in the table, the minority group or groups seem to have fared less well than the majority group in terms of their percentage awarded QTS. Whether it is older trainees, trainees with a declared disability, males or those from a declared non-white background, the percentages gaining QTS are lower than for the comparator group. Interestingly, in most case the percentage of each group teaching in a state school is also lower, although older qualifiers marginally outperformed younger new teachers in terms of the percentage teaching in a state school at 73% compared with 72%

The disturbingly low percentage of ‘Black’ teachers gaining QTS continues. Only 78% of ‘Black’ trainees were awarded QTS, the lowest percentage in the table, and 11% points below the White trainee outcome for that much larger group of trainees. The government really should investigate why this discrepancy in outcome continues each year, especially as only 65% of ‘Black’ trainees awarded QTS were teaching in a state school at the time of the data collection.

Elsewhere, the demise of the undergraduate route is such that only 4,737 final year trainees were recorded, compared with 35,371 postgraduate trainees of whom nearly 19,00 were on school-led courses, with just over 16,500 on higher education led courses. What this balance will look like after the end of the current re-accreditation process is completed is an interesting question. With falling pupil numbers in the primary sector, it seems likely that the 40,000 trainees with QTS in these profiles will mark something of a high point.

The covid pandemic affected these data in two ways. Firstly, the pandemic created a one-year increase in registrations to train as a teacher, boosting the 2020-21 cohort of postgraduate trainees, and secondly, more trainees than usual may have extended their course and will have qualified later than normal due to the effects of the pandemic. Those late qualifications will have redcued some of the outcome percentages.

Although Teach First still uses that name for its band of training, the DfE has re-named its trainees as the ‘High Potential ITT trainees’. It would be interesting to understand the thinking behind this insult to other trainees and their providers. whether universities or schools?

Finally, there is some evidence to support the thesis that the distribution of training places may not be ideal. Only 62% of those awarded QTS in both the North East and North West were employed in state schools, compared with 76% that trained in London; 78% in the South East and 82% of those trained in the East of England. Since these three regions also contain a high percentage of the national total of private schools, this is an interesting outcome, and raises a key question about the use of resources across England.

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