24 June 2013

million+ welcomes Education Select Committee Inquiry into School Direct

The university think-tank million+ has welcomed the decision of MPs on the Education Select Committee to review recruitment to School Direct, the Government’s flagship teacher training programme. Under the programme Ministers switched student numbers for teacher training from universities to schools. Concerns have been growing that this has resulted in under-recruitment in 2013 including in key shortage subjects. In March, million+ held a roundtable in the House of Commons attended by Headteachers, MPs and university representatives which highlighted problems with the rapid implementation of the School Direct policy. The roundtable recommended that the Education Select Committee undertake a short inquiry.

MPs called Charlie Taylor, Chief Executive of the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), to give evidence on 9 July about School Direct recruitment in 2013 but cancelled the session after they were advised that he was not available. The Committee has still invited evidence submissions and is convening a follow-up inquiry in the autumn into the School Direct programme and proposals to create a College of Teaching.

Professor Michael Gunn, chair of million+ and Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University said:

“The Committee’s interest in the impact of School Direct is very welcome”.

“For many years, Universities have worked in close collaboration with schools in the provision of initial teacher training. This has secured a healthy research and scholarship relationship with practice in the classroom which has worked well”.

“With the school year drawing to a close, a much clearer picture is needed of the success of schools, as well as Universities, in recruiting prospective trainee teachers, including in key shortage subjects such as maths and physics”.

“It is not yet clear that the Government’s new policy is the most effective way of delivering high quality teacher supply. The real risk is that there will be insufficient qualified teachers to meet the needs of schools in the future. The interest of the Committee is both timely and welcome”. 

ENDS

Notes to editors
1. For further information or interviews with Professor Gunn please contact Pam Tatlow on 0207 717 1655 or 07795 645 241
2. million+ is a leading university think-tank. More information about million+ can be found at www.millionplus.ac.uk
3. The report of the million+ roundtable 'Who should train the teachers?' can be found here
4. The National College for Teaching and Leadership was formed on 1 April 2013 following the merger of the Teaching Agency and the National College for School Leadership. The NCTL is part of the Department for Education (DfE) and is responsible for initial teacher training (ITT) in England.
5. Follow million+ on twitter - @million_plus