Public Accounts Committee report into teacher training published

Published 14th June 2016

The D&T Association welcomes the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report into teacher training published today. This comes in the same week as the Education Select Committee inquiry into teacher supply on Wednesday 8th June, at which Andy Mitchell was called to give evidence as an expert witness.

The PAC report and calls on Government to address the issues it raises as a matter of urgency. It points out that while the Department for Education has missed its targets to fill teacher training places for four years running, it has ‘no plan for how to achieve them in future’.  The D&T Association along with others have for several years been drawing both DfE and NCTL’s attention to the chronic shortfall and recruitment of D&T teachers and the long term damaging effects this is having on the provision of high quality D&T ITE.

The education of young people in this country depends on a continued supply of appropriate numbers of new and well trained teachers and the models that have been developed to replace established (largely HEI led) are simply not fit for purpose. The government has missed its teacher education recruitment targets for each of the last four years, with recruitment into D&T being worse than any other subject.

Failure to meet recruitment targets is only in part because of rising pupil numbers and increased competition for graduates.

The situation has been made worse by the Government’s ideological and headlong rush into an untested form of ‘school-led’ teacher training, which has damaged the capacity of existing and highly effective school and HEI partnerships to supply schools with the teachers they need. Immense damage has been done to schools’ capacity to deliver both the National Curriculum D&T programmes of study and the impending introduction of the new GCSE in September 2017. With insufficient and inadequately prepared teachers, it is unreasonable to place the high expectations on schools to deliver the new requirements when they lack the most fundamental of all resources to do so.

We agree with the PAC’s conclusion that the government’s new approach is ‘experimental, unevaluated and still evolving’; and that it ‘lacks coherence’.

The Government must allocate teacher training places in a way that allows universities and other providers to plan how best to meet the supply needs of schools in their areas and beyond.  This means making allocations over a longer timescale and encouraging the development of sustainable partnerships.  

We believe that the government should also consider the issue of teacher retention as well as recruitment incentives, including giving new teachers an entitlement to profession development. This would reflect the situation that exists in both other professions here and in other countries, where responsibility and expectation is placed on teacher themselves to take control of their own CPD. This together with support for CPD will make them better teachers and help to keep them in the profession.  

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