Batten down the hatches

The DfE has finally provided the August data on ITT applications. Flagged for the 22nd August publication, the data are now in the public domain. As expected, they make grim reading for anyone at all interested in teacher supply.

At this stage of the year there are two numbers that matter; the absolute number offered a place on a postgraduate ITT course, and how that number relates to the DfE’s Teacher Supply Model (TSM) and its calculation of how many teachers are needed to be trained each year.

First the good news, there are more offers in design and technology than in August last year; nearly 100 more. However, nowhere near enough to meet the probable TSM number, based upon past levels.

Now the bad news. Several subjects are at their lowest level for offers for any year since before the 2013/14 recruitment round. These include:

Languages

Religious Education

Physics

Music

Mathematics

English

Computing

Biology

None of these subjects will recruit enough trainees to meet the likely TSM number.

Physical Education

History

Drama

Will probably recruit enough trainees to meet targets, as should the primary sector, where there are around 12,000 offers. Much depends upon the numbers made offers that fail to turn up when courses commence.

In total, around 24,000 candidates have been recruited, and have either fulfilled all requirements or have ‘conditions pending’. The 13,850 of the 24,000 in the latter category are a worry. There should not be that many at this stage in the cycle. Perhaps course administrators haven’t updated the records during July and August. But it cannot be because candidates are awaiting degree results, so presumably it is either DBS checks or some other administrative issue.

24,000 is still an impressive number, and it should hammer home to Ministers in the new government how important teaching is as a career. With approaching a decade of under-recruitment to training, parts of the school system are now facing serious issues with staffing.

So, how serious is the present situation? In August 2021 there were 46,830 applicants to courses. This August, the number is 38,062. New graduate numbers have dropped from around 14% of the total to 13%, but the decline is greater in percentage terms than the nine per cent overall decline. Teaching is becoming more reliant upon career changers once again.

There have been 5,000 fewer female applicants this year compared with August 2021, and 2,500 fewer men, although the level of applications from men is still higher than it was 30 years ago when applicant numbers struggled to reach the 10,000 level.

While there has been a slight increase in applications for the PG Teaching apprenticeship route into teaching, some other routes are below last year. HE is down from 55,000 to less than 53,000 but SCITT are only marginally down from 15,000 to just over 14,600. The School Direct Salaried route has attracted less than 6,000 applications, compared with some 9,000 last year. With just 760 offers, this route is no longer of any more than passing interest in supplying new teachers to the profession.

If there is another spark of good news it is that applications to courses in London at 27,460 this August are only marginally below the 27,600 recorded last August. Might this be where a significant number of career changers are seeking to enter teaching. Should more ITT places be allocated to the providers with courses in the capital?

This is the last set of data because courses commence in September, and whoever is Secretary of State in September would be well advised to seek an early briefing from the newly appointed SRO for the ITT Reform Project as to how he will ensure sufficient high-quality teachers for all our state-funded schools. The current recruitment campaign isn’t working, and relying upon a recession to make teaching more attractive as a career is akin to crossing your fingers and hoping.

Then end of this cycle of recruitment marks my 35th year of studying trends in teacher recruitment, ever since I was appointed to the leadership team at Oxford Brookes then newly formed School of Education.

The next number that really matters will be the ITT Census, to be published late in the autumn, when the whole reality of the 2023 recruitment round will become apparent to schools.

My advice to schools, don’t wait until then, start planning now for a challenging recruitment round in 2023, whether for January or September appointments.

Fewer than 400 physics teachers join state schools in 2021

If you train too many teachers in some subjects, then then a higher percentage won’t find jobs. That’s the message for government from the latest ITT completer profiles.  Initial teacher training performance profiles, Academic Year 2020/21 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk)

Final year postgraduate trainee outcomes by subject for the 2020/21 academic year

SubjectTotal traineesPercentage awarded QTSPercentage yet to completePercentage not awarded QTSPercentage of those awarded QTS teaching in a state-funded school
Design & Technology66691%6%3%82%
Biology2,12286%8%6%78%
Music47892%3%5%78%
English3,22990%6%4%77%
Mathematics2,81287%7%5%77%
Geography1,20392%4%3%76%
Business Studies38187%7%6%75%
Religious Education65188%7%6%75%
Chemistry89986%8%6%74%
Secondary20,36589%6%5%74%
Physics54383%9%9%73%
Total35,37187%8%5%73%
Modern Foreign Languages1,65091%5%4%72%
Other39891%5%4%71%
Primary15,00685%11%4%71%
History1,67690%6%4%70%
Art & Design91990%7%3%69%
Computing62482%11%7%68%
Drama45592%4%4%67%
Physical Education1,59095%3%2%64%
Classics6990%9%1%52%
Source DfE

Of those awarded QTS, and not shown teaching in a state-funded school, this does not always mean that they have abandoned teaching as a profession, as they may still be in teaching either in a Sixth Form or FE college or in the private sector, either in England or elsewhere in the world.

However, it seems highly unlikely that 576 PE teachers are doing so, while just 108 design and technology teachers took the same route. However, it does seem possible and indeed likely that almost half the 69 Classics teachers trained at the public expense are teaching outside the state-funded sector. Apart from computing and classics, all the subjects in from Primary to the foot of the table are subjects where recruitment into training might have been close to or exceeded the DfE training number presumption from the Teacher Supply Model.  

Training teachers for the private sector may be a cheap price to pay if it relieves the State of the need to fund the education of pupils whose parents are prepared to pay for their education. Although there are other arguments against private education.

However, if the trainees that moved into the private school sector are either used to teach pupils from overseas or even more, now teaching is a global profession, they move to a school overseas to teach that is a net loss to the Exchequer. This is a point Mr Sunak might like to ponder following his reference to selective schools in the debate with Conservative Party members last evening.

Private schools may also account for the reason why physics had only 73% of the 500 or so potential completers working in state-funded schools. That’s less than 400 new teachers of physics for the state-school sector in 2020/21.

Has DfE policy already affected ITT outcomes?

The repercussions of the re-accreditation process for ITT are already reverberating around the teacher preparation world. The DfE may possibly be embarking on the most radical realignment of providers since the cull of institutions in the 1970s. As then, the end of a growth in pupil numbers meant the demand for new teachers will reduce going forward, especially if the traditional assumptions on the scale of demand remain true.

This is not the place to discuss both the effect of mass tutoring and the creation of teaching as a global profession on the demand for teachers by schools in England. Those issues have already been rehearsed previously on this blog.

This post looks at the monthly ITT data on applications published by the DfE yesterday, and containing data up to the 16th May. The headline news is that applications continue to be depressed. In some subjects they are well below the boost that the pandemic provided last year.

Even more alarming is the fact that in many secondary subjects ‘offers’ and recruited trainees for September are at their lowest May levels for more than a decade. For instance, physics has just 337 in the offer categories. However, a further 243 applications are under consideration. In computing the 244 offers is a record low for May, and there are only 219 applications awaiting a decision, and around two thirds of the total applications are shown as unsuccessful.

The ‘offer’ side of the equation seems lower than in past years for this point in the cycle. Have providers reacted to a combination of late targets – not announced until April, rather than at the start of the cycle – the uncertainty surrounding the re-accreditation process, and the return of Ofsted to be much more cautious about offers than in the past?

Take a subject such as music, where one would assume that a music degree and proficiency in at least one instrument were a likely ‘given’ for applicants. However, even here, 478 of the 773 applications are show as unsuccessful. Now, I assume this includes successful applicants that have opted for one provider and are no longer holding offers at other providers, but that would mean a maximum of 295 potential trainees.

Overall candidate numbers are down from 34,490 in May 2021 to 28,977 this May. That’s below the 30,610 of May 2020. As one might expect at this time of year, the decline in career changers has had more impact than the decline in this year’s graduates, although even the numbers of applicants under 23 that are mostly new graduates, are down on last year, although holding up well compared with 2020. How this group reacts once degrees are awarded will be very important for the outcome of this year’s recruitment round. Will they look to teaching as a safe haven in uncertain times or will they be lured by the tight labour market into ignoring teaching as an option?

The regional spread of candidates is worrying, with London seeing fewer than 5,000 candidates across both primary and secondary phases compared with around 5,500 even in 2020, and 6,800 in May last year. Even in the North East, candidate numbers are fewer than 1,100 compared with 1,500 in 2020 and 1,450 last May.  Apart from the teaching apprenticeship route, all other routes into teaching are suffering downturns.

Unless the economy collapses over the next couple of months, this year’s ITT targets will be widely missed, except in history and physical education. Even in these subjects the over-recruitment may well be less than in recent times, meaning an even tighter a labour market for September 2023 and January 2024, unless there is an influx or returners to make up the shortfall.

What remains certain is that without enough teachers the aims of the recent White Paper cannot be met. Perhaps that’s why teachers receive scant mention in the new Schools Bill currently before parliament.

A target is still a target

Last week the DfE published the Postgraduate ITT targets for 2022/23. Postgraduate initial teacher training targets, Academic Year 2022/23 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk)  There must have been a collective sigh of relief across the ITT sector following the announcement, because, although some changes in the targets have been announced, including some reductions in overall targets, the outcome is not likely to have more than a marginal effect on providers except in Chemistry.

The full list of changes is shown in the table below

subjectnumber 21/22number 22/23difference
Total31030326001570
Primary1080011655855
Total2023020945715
Modern Languages15052140635
Design & Technology14751825350
Computing8401145305
Others19802240260
Geography745945200
English19802100120
Physics2530261080
History78085070
Classics4030-10
Religious Education470450-20
Physical Education1010980-30
Biology820780-40
Drama330290-40
Art & Design580530-50
Music540470-70
Business Studies725635-90
Chemistry1080885-195
Mathematics28002040-760
Source: DfE

As the DfE noted in their announcement ‘It is also important to note that recruitment to postgraduate ITT in 2022/23 has not been limited for any subject except physical education. Therefore, although targets for certain subjects may have decreased compared to last year, this does not necessarily mean there will be fewer trainees recruited as a consequence – recruitment can exceed targets.’

This statement, of course, raises the question of why have targets? The answer is complicated, and has been a matter for debate for many years. I assume that The Treasury wants some idea of both how the DfE will spent its cash on schemes it operates, and what the drawdown of student loans could be at its maximum. Both are legitimate questions for government to ask. For a number of years, I was part of a group that discussed these targets before they were released, in those days in the autumn as recruitment to the round was about to start. Now, I read them at the same time as everyone else.

The DfE commentary also notes that adjustments have been made for under-recruitment in certain subjects.

A key driver of whether the 2022/23 targets have increased/fallen for specific secondary subjects is the extent to which those targets have been adjusted to build in the impact of recruitment being below target in the two previous ITT rounds before 2022/23. 

An example of a subject where such an adjustment has been made is modern languages. In the previous two ITT rounds, recruitment for modern languages was below target, so we have increased the 2022/23 target for modern languages to account for this previous under-recruitment. This is the first time we have made such an adjustment for the subject, leading to modern languages having the largest percentage increase in targets this year.

For some subjects, the impact of previous under-recruitment against targets can be offset by other factors. A good example of this is mathematics, where we have seen a decrease in the 2022/23 target compared to last year’s target. Whilst the 2020/21 and 2021/22 PGITT targets for mathematics were not met, the impact of this under-recruitment was more than offset by increases in the numbers of PGITT trainees, returners, and teachers that are new to the state-funded sector being recruited. Furthermore, there was an increase in the proportion of mathematics trainees entering the workforce immediately after ITT.’

This comment from the DfE suggests that retraining courses for serving teachers in subjects such as mathematics might now be considered when calculating targets. It would have been interesting to have seen the worked example for mathematics in order to see which of factors was important in reducing the total to a number close to that for English. Certainly, TeachVac has recorded lower demand for mathematics this year than might have been expected.

Interestingly, in the list of factors affecting the calculation of the targets, the DfE focus on factors affecting inflows. It is not clear the extent to which the changing global marketplace for teachers affects ‘outflows’ and whether any pause due to the effects of covid may have only been a temporary reduction in the number of teachers departing these shores?

The issue of including the effects of under-recruitment in the current targets is an interesting one. Schools start each September fully staffed, so there is a risk that by including the shortfall from previous years in the new target the supply is inflated to a point where a proportion of trainees won’t find a teaching post. It would be interesting to see if these are mostly likely to be trainees with student loans not training through an employer managed route. The DfE will have that data. Inflated targets can also lead to places being provided in parts of the country where there are not jobs. This was a consequence of using this methodology in the 1990s.

At the present time, this consideration of whether to include a previous shortfall in the current target is merely an academic discussion in most subjects, since 2022 will most likely again see courses fail to hit even these revised targets where they have been lowered, except perhaps in Chemistry and possibly mathematics, both subjects where over-recruitment is permitted.

However, the methodology used in calculating targets via the Teacher Supply model (TSM) process may become more important for providers in coming years as pupil numbers stabilise and funding comes under pressure, especially if large salary increases to cop with high inflation are not fully funded by government.

There will be tough times ahead in the ITT world. Will schools want to stay involved and what will be the collective views of Vice Chancellors towards the DfE and ITT?

Bad News?

At the recent NfER webinar on the labour market for teachers some scarry numbers were banded around for this year’s applications for ITT postgraduate courses. On 30th March the DfE released the latest data on applications up to 21st March 2022. Initial teacher training application statistics for courses starting in the 2022 to 2023 academic year – Apply for teacher training – GOV.UK (apply-for-teacher-training.service.gov.uk) For comparison purposes, in 2021, the similar UCAS data was up to the 15th March, so this year’s data contains numbers from an extra week.

Despite the extra week compared with last year, overall candidate numbers at 23,264 are below the 27,170 cited as being domiciled in England in the March 2021 UCAS data. In reality, the DfE’s 23,264 includes around 3,000 domiciled outsides of England, including 514 from Northern Ireland and 2,000 from the EEA plus ‘rest of the world’. So, the domiciled in England number is perhaps no more than 23,500 at best. This would be more than 3,000 below the March 2021 number. Not good news.

Equally disturbing is that the decline in candidates from across the age ranges, with a notable decline in the 25 to 29 age group from 5,900 in 2021 to 4,684 this March. These are often career switchers dissatisfied with their initial career choice after graduation, and choosing teaching as a second career. One of the smaller reductions is in the youngest age group of those age 21 and under, where this year’s number is 4,227 compared with 4,490 in March 2021.

This year, there 6,525 men have applied to become a teacher, compared with 7,620 in March 2021. Female applicants are down from 18,930 to 16,525 for the same comparative period. Last year, by March 2021, 680 men had been ‘placed’ or what is now termed ‘recruited’. This year, 234 have been recruited by March. Fortunately, only 1,515 men has been unsuccessful so far with their applications, along with 2,619 of the 16,525 women.

Applications, as opposed to candidates, are down from 79,790 in March 2021 to 61,755 this year. Higher Education has had 29,566 applications this year compared with 37,050 in March 2021. Not surprisingly, apprenticeship applications are up from 1,680 last year to 2,397 this year. However, the School Direct salaried route only has 3,618 applications compared with 6,460 in 2021. Only 14 have been recruited to this route compared with 40 placed by March 2021. SCITT numbers at 8,458 compared with 9,490 seem more buoyant than the other school-based routes.

Providers across England are reporting lower regional numbers for applications, with London applications down from 16,740 to 14,277 and in the South East from 10,540 to 7,605. Only in the Yorkshire and The Humber Region does the fall seem smaller, at 7,052 compared with 7,980 in March 2021.

These number make for grim reading in a month where TeachVac recorded record numbers of vacancies for teachers posted by schools across England. The aims of the White Paper published earlier this week cannot be met if there are not enough teachers. I still think the NfER prediction for physics that less than 20% of the target number would be reached is alarming, but it is almost certain that the target will be missed for another year, and not only in physics, but also in a range of other subjects.

After 12 years in power at Westminster, a solution to the teacher supply problem must be found by the present government.

Cottage Industry or Modern Workplace

There has been a lot of chat about the resumption of Ofsted inspections of ITT settings following the suspension during the first year of the covid crisis. In the past, ofsted has tended to see ITT providers as reaching a high standard in preparing the next generation of teachers. However, the early inspection outcomes under the new framework have ruffled feathers with some providers being judged as either Requiring Improvement or even Inadequate.

Further education provision, often seen as the overlooked child of teacher/lecturer preparation, has come in for the most concern from inspectors, with two university curses flagged as Inadequate and two Further Education based courses seen as Requiring Improvement. As a former teacher educator that doesn’t surprise me. This area of preparation often doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves.

From these first round of inspections there has only been one Outstanding grade, for a provider in South West London. Three universities have received Requires Improvement grades for part of their provisions. All are post-1992 universities with a long tradition in teacher preparation. None are in areas where there is a teacher shortage. Two other providers of courses for teachers in the school sector have been graded as inadequate. Both in the North West, an area where there is no overall shortage of teacher supply.

Is there an agenda here? Data suggests that there are too many training places in the primary sector for future needs if the intention is to match training numbers with perceived need and not to regard the training of teachers are an open choice course not related to market need. With the shambles over lorry driver numbers and other shortages, matching need for workers to supply may move up the government’s agenda in the future.

In teaching, because the government has always met the initial costs of training, whether by grants in the past or now through student loans, the Teacher Supply Model has always attempted to match the supply of teachers with expected demand: not always successfully, as this blog has noted in the past.

Adverse inspection outcomes in areas where teacher supply is less of an issue, especially in the primary sector, could be a means of flagging up courses where accreditation might be removed. It will be interesting to watch the data as it emerges from further inspection reports.

Neither of the two providers with ‘national’ in their title were rated as Outstanding. Both the mathematics/physics course that involves a large number of independent schools, and the Modern Foreign Language course were rated as Good. Surely such specialist provision ought to be Outstanding in their preparation of new teachers? No doubt they will be at their next inspections.

How do small courses manage issues such as introducing trainees to recent research and creating a balance between generic teaching skills and subject knowledge acquisition where there may be only one or two trainees in a particular subject. Additionally, how do some schools handle an introduction to diversity issues in largely mono cultural locations? In respect of the levelling up agenda, this might be an issue for courses located only in schools with strong parental support or excellent outcomes.

These are early days, but there is much discussion about the landscape for initial teacher preparation courses as there was in the mid-1970s; late 1990s and no doubt will be again in the future when change is being mooted. This blog has been in existence long enough to contain a detailed submission to the Carter Review. I will watch the future with interest.

Teacher Supply Model more important than ever

Those readers that have browsed my recent posts will know that teacher education is facing one of those turning points in its history. Regardless of the policy approaches towards how teachers are prepared there are going to be implications on the sector from the downturn in pupil numbers.

The decline in the birth rate is already being felt in primary schools, with many admitting fewer pupils this September than for some years. Lucky the schools with a new housing estate being built in the catchment area. The DfE has estimated that by 2026 the overall population in the primary sector is projected to be 4,345,000. This is 302,000 lower than the actual figure in 2020 (4,647,000). Such a rapid reduction has serious implications for those that prepare new teachers for the profession.

Taking a teacher to pupil ratio of 1:30 that would mean there would be a need for 10,000 fewer teachers. Now real pupil teacher ratios are much better than that figure, so perhaps the drop might be 4,000 over the period 2020 to 2026. Assuming teacher departure rates don’t alter significantly, and that newly trained teacher are preferred over returners to the classroom, then a drop of 1,000 in training numbers might be an interesting starting point for any discussion.

Of course, the Teacher Supply Model can much more accurately process these changes and identify what the actual requirement for new teachers is likely to be. However, it seems that there will be a reduction in primary training numbers.

The decision must be where and what type of training; school-based or higher education? Course based or salaried? Across all providers or supporting either large or small providers? These are the policy questions that must rapidly be answered. For the longer the delay in reducing training targets, the worse the cut will be if the Teacher Supply Model has really abandoned any idea of smoothing reductions over a number of years and takes any change in the year that they occur.

The latest three year postgraduate numbers for Primary ITT places from the Teacher Supply Model were 12,975 in 2018/19; 13,003 in 2019/2020 and 11,467 in 20201/21. Now, the TSM only covers postgraduate teacher supply. Some providers with both undergraduate and postgraduate provision have, in the past, when there have been reductions in places, kept their undergraduate numbers and reduced postgraduate numbers. The rational for such a move is less based on relative quality of applicants than the fact that undergraduate courses generate more fee revenue than postgraduate courses and are relatively less expensive to deliver. This will be especially true with the latest set of proposals discussed in previous blogs.

Whether the current government will be willing to tolerate any change in quality of applicants due to how providers react to a fall in places available is an interesting policy question that merits some discussion. From the point of view of The Treasury, one-year courses cost the government less in student loans than undergraduate courses, but if those students displaced from undergraduate teacher training courses take other degrees and then a postgraduate teacher qualification, the overall cost can be higher.

By the middle of the decade, the secondary sector will be facing the dilemmas associated with falling pupil numbers, but since recruitment even in regulated subjects such as physical education has been at record levels, enforcing changes there might be even trickier than in the public sector. That is if the present market review hasn’t fundamentally altered the shape of teacher preparation provision in England.

QTS for life?

Re-reading my submission to the Carter Review https://johnohowson.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/a-submission-to-the-carter-review/ from way back in 2014, made me think that the recent Market Review of ITT discussed in the previous two posts on this blog missed another important point. Because it was focused on the delivery mechanism and content of ITT and not the candidates undergoing the training in deciding how to create world class teachers it missed discussing some important issues, such as should QTS last for life and can a world-class profession continue with a QTS award that allows any teacher to teach anything to any pupil with no check. What is the point of a subject knowledge requirement if at the end of a course a PE teacher can be employed to teach science on the basis that they have a sports science degree?

Changing the rules on preparation courses without looking at the ‘downstream’ consequences is a bit like closing the stable door before you have even put the horse inside. What’s the appropriate preparation to teach humanities if it contains elements of history; geography and even religious education? Do you need post ‘A’ level qualifications in each subject area to be able to teach it? As far as I can tell, the Market Review is silent on this type of discussion. Then there are the subjects taught at Key Stages 4 & 5 that are barely recognised in the Teacher Supply Model but where schools actively recruit each year. These subjects include, economics, psychology, sociology and law. Most of these subjects have more posts advertised each year by schools than does Latin, a subject recognised by the DfE in the Teacher Supply Model.

As already alluded to, the issue of moving from training to employment is a discussion that merits more attention that was paid to it in the Review. It is appropriate to assume that the best quality trainees are the first to secure teaching posts: a sensible assumption if the market works properly. Such an outcome would leave the weakest students sometimes without a teaching post for September, but available to fill the vacancies that arise for the following January, often due to maternity leave arrangements. How should the system deal with these teachers-in-waiting? Ignore them as at present? Hope that they will pick up supply work? Ensure every teacher passing the training component is offered a teaching post for September of at least one year in duration?

A Review that talks about world class teachers and deals with initial training and professional development, but ignores the realities of life, won’t easily achieve its aims for the system as a whole. The issue of the length of time a teacher could spend working as a supply teachers was tackled some time ago, but the issue of a gap between completing training and starting teaching in the subject and phase of your training has not really been addressed. I think such an omission is a mistake.

I am sure that the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Teaching Profession and its associated Special Interest Group or SIG will be taking a look at the Review before the summer.

ITT Review: prelude to a cull?

The DfE today published the long awaited ITT Market Review Final Report on Initial Teacher Training. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-itt-market-review-report and the associated consultation. https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/initial-teacher-training-itt-market-review

This type of exercise comes along about once in every generation. Thirty years ago it was the establishment of the Teacher Training Agency and fifteen years ago, the desire to move towards a Masters Degree profession by the Labour government.

This Review that is unsigned and totally anonymous, is strong in certain areas, but lamentably weak in others. The outstanding changes that may cause issues in my view are not the content of training per se, as governments have taken an active interest in that before, although the section on synthetic phonics only being permitted as the way to teach reading does read a tad dictatorial. To me the fun will be around the Intensive Teaching 20 days, and the lengthening of courses to 38 weeks, especially f this is expected to take place within a funding envelope designed for higher education classroom courses of 30 weeks. Reaction to these changes will be worth watching closely.

Change there has to be. The primary teacher market is facing a period of over-supply resulting from the fall in the birth rate and possible loss of young families back to other EU countries as well as the age profile of the teaching force. A rationale for keeping the good providers allows for reductions in provision on a basis less open to challenge than one with no rationale behind the cuts when they come.

Such a reduction in places is still a couple of years away for secondary teacher providers, but this Review won’t have much effect before the 2024 labour market, by which time secondary schools in some areas will be seeing reductions in their intakes with a knock-on effect on the demand for teachers.

Who will be the winners form this review? It is difficult to assess at this stage, as the age-old question of rewarding good providers versus a sensible national distribution of training places didn’t really receive an airing in the Review except around Teaching School hubs.

Will schools want to take on the burden of longer courses with more intensive mentoring and an associated bureaucracy that will inevitable accompany the required control of content and progress.  If not, will MATs see it as their function. Clearly local authorities and diocese aren’t in the running for lead providers as they don’t rate a mention. Curiously, since it has operated a model possibly not a million miles away from what is being advocated, Teach First as a programme is seemingly ignored in the section on employment-based entry routes into teaching.

Overall, the approach seems to me to be a blend of a more centralised curriculum around a delivery structure reminiscent of the Area Training Organisations set up after World War Two.

The good news is that with a rethink about professional development that has withered on the vine for much of this century, other than for government led priorities, there might be a revival of the concept of  professional development centres where teacher can come together to learn. Alongside this there ought to be an evaluation of a career structure of the type once provided by local advisory and support services.

In the end, deciding what to do and how to do it that is the meat of this Review is the easy part. Solving the crisis of teacher supply so that every child has a great teacher is a much greater challenge, and one that this Review largely ducked despite its title.

UCAS end of 2020 cycle ITT data

UCAS has today published the end of cycle data for courses that started last autumn. Regular readers that follow this blog will know that much of what is contained in the data has been commented upon in posts on this blog la the August and October.

However, ‘The End of Cycle’ (EoC) report contains much more information than the regular monthly updates published during the cycle. One area is in that of the ethnicity of applicants and the percentages accepted. Why gender is seen as capable of being revealed each month and ethnicity is not is an interesting question. I assume it is down to the fact that numbers in some categories would be too small to make publication viable or appropriate.

Regardless of the reason, the EoC report contains some interesting data.

Accepted percentages 2020 from UCAS PG ITT data
MaleFemaleAll
Black37%53%48%
Other41%51%48%
Asian50%61%58%
Not Stated55%57%56%
Mixed [sic]58%62%61%
Total63%70%68%
White67%74%72%

Source: UCAS

Black male applicants had less than a four in ten chance of being accepted on to a course compared with 74% of white females that were accepted. It would be interesting to drill down into these figures to see whether there are regional and subject/phase differences within the categories.  

My assumption would be that London courses perform well in terms of acceptance of ethnic minority candidates and those courses in regions furthest from the capital may attract few applicants from ethnic groups other than the White group. This can pose another issue if a few courses receive the bulk of say Black African Male applicants. The policy should be to take the most suitable applicants.

I don’t know how much effort the DfE puts into monitoring these statistics and how they respond to the outcomes? Are civil servants content with the disparity between the different groups or should more work be undertaken to reduce the differences across gender and ethnicity?

Male applicants domiciled in London had one of the lowest acceptance rates overall for me of just 50% of applicants. It would be interesting to cross-tab the domicile by region with ethnicity. By contrast, 86% of women applicants domiciled in the north east appear to have been accepted That seems like a high figure to me and it would be interesting to see how many of these were accepted before say, Christmas. Providers that fill courses quickly can save time and money but such a practice begs the question about whether there should be a closing date for applications to allow more equal chances not determined by how quickly you decide upon teaching as a career.