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This is desperate stuff from a Government that is storing up huge problems for our schools with their failure on teacher recruitment and retention

city_centre_small.jpgLucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commenting on teacher shortages, said:

“This is desperate stuff from a Government that is storing up huge problems for our schools with their failure on teacher recruitment and retention. Whilst half of all schools had unfilled positions at the start of this year, it is obvious to both parents and school leaders that the situation is extremely serious, and yet Ministers are now trying to pull the wool over peoples’ eyes. All the while, standards are being threatened as schools are forced to turn to unqualified staff, temporary supply teachers, non-specialists, and larger class sizes to cope with the chronic shortages in the profession. 

“Ensuring that there are enough excellent teachers in our schools is fundamental to ensuring that all children get a great education. The Government’s failure on this extremely basic issue is risking the education of our young people.”

Ends

 

Notes to editors

• This year the Government has changed how it publishes its figures on initial teacher training numbers. The targets produced via the Teacher Supply Model in previous years have included both postgraduate and undergraduate figures. This year the Government has, with no explanation, only published the target for postgraduate trainees, making it difficult to compare to previous years:

“Please be aware that prior to the 2015/16 TSM, the TSM target was a combined target for both postgraduate and undergraduate trainees.”

DfE, Initial teacher training census for the academic year 2015 to 2016, England, 19 November 2015, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/478098/ITT_CENSUS_SFR_46_2015_to_2016.pdf

• At the same time, this year the Government has for the first time included Teach First figures in the overall number of trainees recruited. This has added 1,584 recruits onto the final number of postgraduate trainees recruited this year.

For all years except 2015/16, targets and trainees recruited include both postgraduate and undergraduate, and figures exclude Teach First.

*The figures for 2014/15 are provisional. The Government has not published updated figures using both undergraduate and postgraduate targets. 

** The figures for 2015/16 are provisional and include Teach First for the first time.

Source: DfE, Initial teacher training: trainee number census, 2014-15, https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/initial-teacher-training-trainee-number-census-2014-to-2015

• If we take out the additional Teach First recruits, and include the total number of undergraduate trainees recruited, as per the methodology in previous years, the total number of trainees recruited for 2015/16 is 7,000 fewer than for 2009/10, and has fallen every year under the Tories.

The Government has refused to publish the combined target for 2015/16 saying that “The requested information is not available”. However, the Department for Education has published a report of exemptions to spending controls this week, which reveals they spent over £5.5 million “To support the major government/DfE objective of achieving Initial Teacher Training (ITT) targets of 35,000 to start ITT in September 2016”. Assuming that this is roughly the target for 2015/16 too, this shows that the Government has missed its target by around 10 per cent this year. Over the past four years, the Government has failed to reach its target by around 7,500 trainee teachers.

For all years, targets and trainees recruited include both postgraduate and undergraduate, and figures exclude Teach First. Figures for 2014/15 and 2015/16 are provisional.

Source: DfE, Initial teacher training: trainee number census, 2014-15, https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/initial-teacher-training-trainee-number-census-2014-to-2015

• Despite this, the Tories have tried to claim that the data shows a rise on last year.

“If you look at the figures this year compared with last year, we are seeing an increasing number.”

Nick Gibb, Education Select Committee transcript, 9 December 2015, http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/education-committee/supply-of-teachers/oral/25918.html

• The Government has confirmed there are no targets for Teach First, yet for this year they counted Teach First figures in how far they had met their target for postgraduate trainees for the first time.

“There are no targets for the various routes, including the Teach First programme, into ITT.

Prior to 2015/16 there was an aggregated undergraduate and postgraduate target for new entrants to ITT. Recruitment to Teach First was not included in performance against these targets. The 2015/16 target was for postgraduate new entrants only, and for the first time includes recruitment to Teach First.”

Nick Gibb, Hansard, 30 November 2015, cW, http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2015-11-24.17438.h&s=lucy+powell#g17438.q0

• The Government has refused to publish the combined target for 2015/16 and refused to explain why they have made this change.

Lucy Powell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the (a) overall target and (b) target for each subject for new entrants to Initial Teacher Training for 2015-16 is, when the same Teacher Supply Model methodology that was applied in 2014-15 is used.

Nick Gibb: The requested information is not available.

The Department for Education published the 2016/17 Teacher Supply Model (TSM) alongside initial teacher training (ITT) place recruitment controls on 14 October 2015. Both the 2015/16 and 2016/17 versions of the TSM are available online at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-supply-model

Hansard, 8 December 2015, cW, http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2015-12-03.18683.h&s=teacher+supply+model#g18683.q0

Lucy Powell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reasons targets and breakdown of recruitment by subject for undergraduate trainees were not included in the Initial Teacher Training census 2015-16.

Nick Gibb: In the academic year 2015 to 2016 there were 5,440 first year undergraduate trainees.

The 2015 to 2016 Teacher Supply Model sets the target for postgraduate trainees and takes account of the number of undergraduate trainees completing a course in 2016 when meeting future teacher requirements. We allocated places for undergraduate courses using criteria as set out in the published guidance.

Hansard, 8 December 2015, cW, http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2015-12-03.18682.h&s=teacher+supply+model#g18682.r0

• The situation is the same with the breakdown of recruitment by subject – figures for undergraduates have been removed from targets and Teach First numbers included in the number of trainees recruited for the first time. The Government has also refused to publish the breakdown on undergraduate trainees by subject.

• The data for the 2015/16 recruitment cycle wasoriginally scheduled to be published on 26 November 2015, but it was unexpectedly published a week early on the 19 November, with no announcement of the change to schedule.

• Just last week, Schools Minister Nick Gibb claimed that his Government is “a very transparent, open Government in terms of data.”

“We are very happy to tweak and change that teacher supply model if it is not coming up with the right numbers or we are not using the right data on which it is based. This is a very transparent, open Government in terms of data.”

Nick Gibb, Education Select Committee transcript, 9 December 2015, http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/education-committee/supply-of-teachers/oral/25918.html

• The Government refuse to acknowledge the extent of the problem in teacher supply, instead choosing to describe the profession as “in a very good shape”:

“Actually the profession is in very good shape… This is not evidence of a profession in crisis or a profession that has a morale problem.”

Nick Gibb, Education Select Committee transcript, 9 December 2015, http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/education-committee/supply-of-teachers/oral/25918.html

• Anyone who raises the problems with recruitment into teaching is bizarrely accused by the Tories of “talking down the profession”.

“What concerns me about the use of that word— and I am concerned by some of the words used in the previous sessions and words used by people in issuing statements to the press—is that people are in some ways talking down the profession. Actually the profession is in very good shape.”

Nick Gibb, Education Select Committee transcript, 9 December 2015, http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/education-committee/supply-of-teachers/oral/25918.html

 

Teacher shortages: the truth

Tories desperately try to cover-up the extent of teacher shortages

• The Government is resorting to desperate measures to try to mask the extent of their failure on teacher recruitment. They have:

o Stripped out undergraduate trainees from their target number for trainees, so that the target appears lower overall.

o Included Teach First trainees for the first time in the number of postgraduate trainees recruited, to give the appearance that they have hit a higher percentage of their target than the year before – this is not the case.

o Refused in Parliamentary written answers to publish the combined target for both undergraduate and postgraduate trainees for 2015/16, which would allow the data to be comparable to previous years, claiming that the information is “not available”. Yet, the target for the following year has already been published.

o At the last minute, brought forwards the publication of the data to the week before it was originally scheduled.

• New analysis shows that for every year under the Tories the number of trainee teachers recruited has fallen. The total number of trainees recruited for 2015/16 is now 7,000 fewer than for 2009/10.Despite this, the Tories are intentionally misleading the public, claiming that the number increased in the last year.

• For four years the Tories have missed their target for recruiting new trainees into the profession. It is subjects that are key to boosting our country’s competitiveness, such as maths and science, which are among the worst hit. The total number of trainees recruited for 2015/16 is 7,000 fewer than in 2009/10.

• Nearly 160,000 additional qualified teachers are needed in England over the next 3 years, yet just 33,500 trainees, including Teach First, were recruited to teacher training routes for 2015/16.

• Between November 2013 and November 2014 a total of 49,120 teachers left the profession. This is an increase of 3,480 teachers on the previous year and a record high since the data was published for England only in 1997/8. More people quit teaching this year than entered the profession (48,900) – this never happened under the last Labour Government.

• Trends in pupil numbers project that there will be 582,000 more primary and secondary pupils in the system by 2020.Recently, the Institute for Fiscal Studies published a report that found schools face significant challenges over teacher recruitment, at a time of rising pupil numbers. To keep class sizes constant total teacher numbers need to rise by 30,000 over five years.

• In November, TES published research showing that half of all schools had unfilled positions at the start of this academic year. To cope with the shortages: one in four schools are increasing their use of supply teachers; one in six schools are using non-specialist teachers to cover vacancies; and more than one in ten schools are resorting to using unqualified staff to teach lessons.

• The amount schools are spending on supply teachers continues to rise and now stands at £1.3 billion – a rise of almost £300 million (27.1%) over the past two years.

• The Department for Education has just spent on a £5,557,250 recruitment campaign “To support the major government/DfE objective of achieving Initial Teacher Training (ITT) targets of 35,000 to start ITT in September 2016”. In 2010, less than half of this amount (£1,800,000) was spent on teacher recruitment marketing activity – and the higher target was met.

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