The House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) has published a new report entitled ‘Training new teachers’ which makes for disappointing reading.
The main concern laid out in the report is that the Department for Education has missed its deadline to fill teacher training places for the fourth year running, despite having doubled the number of routes into training (from two to four), trebling the number of SCITTS and having 841 new providers joining School Direct. The report makes the claim that the teacher training sector is confused, thanks to a lack of planning, experimental schemes and poor leadership, which it sees as key factors in the DfE not meeting their targets. This has resulted in a massive spend of £1 billion on bursaries alone and the current £700m annual cost of training new teachers which they have no way of tracking the effectiveness of.
In order to combat these issues, the PAC describe the need for:
- A clear plan with details about the targets to be created.
- An evaluation of the bursary schemes and if they are effectively providing more, better quality teachers.
- A defined deadline on an evaluation of all current routes into teaching initiatives.
Other problems identified in the report where the over expenditure on teaching supply recruitment companies and underqualified teachers. An end of August 2016 deadline has been set for working out the extent and impact of teachers taking lessons they are not qualified in.
The PAC’s report has not been met with enthusiasm by all. With Nick Gibb describing that he “does not recognise” the picture painted by it, maintaining that the National Teaching Service will combat these claims. However, worries have been reported that not enough experienced teachers and middle leaders have been found, with Schools Week suggesting that only 10 have been found in the North West of England where the target was 100. Whatever the actual figure, worries over the NTS, the Future Teaching Scholars and the Return to Teaching schemes have been growing since all three of their application deadlines have had to be extended.
The DfE feel the extra freedoms academisation will give schools to pay their teachers more will help with recruitment, that record levels of trainees hold a first-class degree, and that School Direct “offers all schools, wherever they are located, the chance to take great control and attract, train and develop high quality teachers and potential leaders”. But will this be enough to meet the targets next time?
To access the full report, follow this link.