Are all trainees equal in the job market?

There is quite a lot of other data in the ITT profiles that wasn’t discussed in the previous post on this blog. However, it also has to be said that there is a lot of data that isn’t in the profiles, notably for different secondary subjects and routes and regions. I assume the DFE uses that data when considering the bids from providers, but with largely open recruitment, in all except a small number of subjects, it is only meaningful data if it shows some regions are missing out on trainees. A breakdown of employment by region where QTS was obtained and region NQT is reported as teaching in would also be interesting. However, as some providers are close to regional boundaries maps showing the percentage of those with QTS teaching in each region by region of QTS award would be the best method of displaying such information.

Still, we must make do with what is on offer. I prefer the simple calculation for postgraduate trainees of the percentage of those that were recorded as final year trainees and the percentage in teaching six months after gaining QTS. This includes teaching in the private sector, so isn’t yet providing a picture of those that started an ITT course and ended up teaching in a state funded school. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before that data is available.

Anyway, what do we know? Women outweigh men at the start of the final year by more than 2:1. Women are also more likely to end up in teaching than men. 85% of women recorded as final year trainees were in teaching six months from being awarded QTS, compared with 79% of men.  Of the 8,525 men recorded as final year trainees in 2016, only 6,700 were in teaching by then end of 2017. There were 285 recorded as looking and a further 365 recorded as still to complete QTS, so the percentage could increase, but it could also increase for women as well for the same reasons.

Members of ethnic minorities, of whatever gender, fare less well than those from a non-minority ethnic group in the working as a teacher outcomes. Only 78% of the 3,875 that were recorded as final year trainees from an ethnic minority group were recorded as being in a teaching post six months after receiving QTS. Again, there may be late entrants yet to come from the pool of 120 trainee still looking and the 290 yet to complete QTS.

Recording a disability seems create an even greater hurdle. Of the 2,560 trainees recorded as declaring a disability at the start of their final year, only 1,960 or 77% were recorded as in teaching six months after receiving QTS. This is especially disappointing in light of the fact that 12% of final year trainees, a record percentage, declared a disability. More work needs to be done to discover the issues with this group finding work as a teacher.

Finally, I am interested in how trainees find their teaching jobs? Are more now offered jobs by the schools where they spend time and do fewer trainees need recourse to national jobs sites such as either TeachVac www.teachvac.co.uk – where I am chair – or other recruitment sites? Do please let me know your thoughts.

 

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Can we halve the number of women in prison?

This blog doesn’t often stray away from education but when it does it generally comments on issues relating to the justice system. This morning Simon Hughes, a Lib Dem government minister in the Ministry of Justice suggested he would like to see the number of women in prison halved from around 4,000 to presumably around 2,000. Is this achievable? Well, it has been achieved with young offenders.

Under the last Labour government the number of under-eighteens in custody hit 3,000 in August 2008. By September 2014 the figure was down to just over 1,000 and the number of males in youth custody actually dipped below the 1,000 mark in October 2014. Now even 1,000 may be too many, but there has been a real achievement on the part of the Youth Justice Board and the courts that has produced this dramatic reduction during the life of this parliament. Admittedly, this has been a period when crime has been falling both nationally and internationally, but that shouldn’t diminish the achievement of the criminal justice system.

Reducing the female prison population may be harder to achieve. Of the 4,000 or so women in custody in the autumn of 2014, about 10% were on remand. Only another 10% were on short sentences of six months or less, so even wiping out the sending to prison of this group wouldn’t achieve the 50% drop the Minister is seeking. And, there are those in this group where the sentence would have been greater but for an early guilty plea and perhaps a reduction in the offence charged between arrest and appearance in court.

So, to reduce the female prison population the Crown Court judges are going to have to cooperate since more than 3,000 of the women in custody are there because a Crown Court judge has sent them to prison. Indeed, more than 25% are serving sentences of four years or more or of an indeterminate length. Add in those with a sentence of 1-4 years and that accounts for more than half the total of women in prison.

Why are they there? 900 are there for crimes of violence, the largest single offence group to generate custodial sentences among women these days. Add in robbery – a violent crime and burglary and you probably account for a third of the women in custody. Interestingly, only 10% of women are there for drug offences and a similar percentage are in prison for theft and handling. Perhaps the group that might be looked at for non-custodial sentences are the 12% or so of the prison population incarcerated for a range of other offences. And, just like men, women between 25 and 49 make up the bulk of the prison population.

Stopping re-offending and preventing offending in the first place are likely to be the key factors in reducing the female prison population, just as they are for men and have been with young offenders. As the Minister points out, many in prison have mental health problems and tacking those through the NHS might well bring reductions in the numbers in custody. Whether Crown Court judges should be ordered to treat women found guilty of offences differently to men guilty of the same offence when it comes to sentencing is a debate worth having. It falls into the same category of whether someone that needs to drive for a living should be able to argue exceptional hardship when faced with a driving ban, as they can and do every day in our courts.

 

One in five trade unionists works in the education sector

One of the advantages of the DfE moving its statistical output to the central government web site is that it allows those looking for data about education to browse much more easily a much wider field than before. Now there is no longer any need to consult a range of web sites in the hope that there might be some data about education buried there.

Thus it was that I discovered in the figures on Trade Union membership issued earlier today that the education sector is now the most unionised of any occupational group covered by the government’s classification system. Those who want to delve into the data can find it at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/trade-union-statistics-2012

Trade Union membership in the education sector includes not only teachers but also all other staff classified as working in the sector. In 2012, the education sector employed 11.7% of those covered by the survey, but accounted for 23.8% of trade union membership.

Across the education sector, although the percentage of employees in trade unions has declined from 55% in 1995 to 52% in 2012, the percentage of women in the sector in trade unions increased from 50.5% to 52.6% during the same period; the only sector to record an increase in female participation in trade unions during the whole period. This was a time in history when overall membership of trade unions declined, from 32.4% to 26% of workers, and more than halved in the financial and insurance activities sector, from 37.3% in 1995 to 15.9% in 2012.

In the education sector there were just over 1,000,000 trade union members in 1995; by 2012, membership numbers had increased to more than 1.5 million, no doubt partly due to the increase in teaching assistants and other support staff employed in the sector during the past decade. Union membership is strongest amongst full-time, and female workers, and those with permanent posts, although the education sector has the second highest degree of union membership among part-time workers.

England has the lowest percentage trade union membership in the education sector, at 50.3%; compared with 58.8% in Wales; 61.1% in Scotland; and 68.1% in Northern Ireland. Sadly, there is no table to show whether the present Secretary of State in England has inspired an increase in membership across England since 2010. However, there are regional differences across England, with Yorkshire and the Humber having the highest level of membership at 62.4% overall, including more than 69% of full-time staff, and the South East the lowest, at 44.7%. Apart from London, where the percentage membership is 50.7%, membership percentages are higher in the northern regions and lower in the midlands and south of England.

In England, at least among teachers, there will be a big test for trade unions this year with the introduction of what amounts to pay bargaining at a local level for the first time in almost a hundred years for many teachers. Whether it is largely ignored by schools who stick to national ‘guidelines’ or becomes a real bone of contention will become apparent over the next twelve months.

What is clear is that the public sector unions, and those representing workers at all levels in the education sector, now account for a significant proportion of trade unionists. At an earlier piece on this blog showed, a survey last year didn’t always find the teacher members as in favour of action as their leaders.