1 November 2013

million+ criticises ‘ideological’ approach to teacher education

Following the publication by the Department for Education of the allocations of teacher training places for the 2014-15 admissions year, Professor Michael Gunn, Chair of the university think-tank million+ and Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University, said:

“The decision by Ministers to transfer over 15,000 teacher education places from universities to the Government’s School Direct programme will threaten the viability of initial teacher training courses and education departments in universities and undermine teacher supply in the regions.”

“In all high performing countries the role of universities in training teachers and ensuring they have academic and professional qualifications which combine study and practical classroom experience is highly valued.”

“The Government has now adopted an ideological approach to teacher education which disregards the evidence. There was massive under-recruitment of School Direct places in 2013-14 and confusion among applicants. There is no reason to believe that this situation will improve next year.”


Notes to Editors

1. For more information please contact Pam Tatlow on 0207 717 1655 or 07795 645241.

2. million+ is a leading university think-tank. More information about million+ can be found at www.millionplus.ac.uk

3. Teacher training places are allocated on behalf of Ministers by the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) which is now part of the Department for Education (DfE).  The School Direct programme was introduced by Education Secretary Michael Gove in a package of reforms which he said would 'revolutionise' teacher training. Under the School Direct programme schools are responsible for bidding for teacher training numbers but in 2013-14 the School Direct programme under-recruited.

4. The 2014/15 allocations published by DfE/ NCTL are broken down as follows:

• Total number of places allocated: 41,100

• HEI postgraduate: 16,200

• HEI undergraduate: 6,700

• SCITT (School Centered Initial Teacher Training) : 2,900

• School Direct: 15,400 (now 37% of total)

5. Universities which have been graded as ‘good’ by Ofsted for teacher training have seen significant cuts.

6. The total allocation of 41,100 numbers exceeds the national target of 34,900 teacher training places which NCTL believes are required in 2014-15. This strategy of ‘over-allocation’ was also adopted in 2013-14 in order to avoid the risk of under-recruitment by School Direct but it led to under and over-recruitment in some subjects creating more uncertainty as to whether the number of teachers being trained will be sufficient to meet future needs in primary and in all secondary subjects.  

7. In March 2013 million+ hosted a round-table in the House of Commons on the impact of School Direct and gave evidence to the House of Commons Education Select Committee in September 2013. The 2014-15 allocations have been announced in advance of the publication of the Education Select Committee’s report.