Concerns have been growing throughout the sector that the School Direct programme, under which the government allocates initial teacher training places direct to schools, has resulted in under-recruitment of students in 2013, including in key shortage subjects.
In March, the university thinktank million+ held a roundtable discussion in the Commons attended by headteachers, MPs and university representatives to highlight the problems with the swift implementation of School Direct, recommending the Education Select committee undertake an inquiry.
Committee members have now convened an inquiry in the autumn into School Direct and proposals to create a Royal College of Teaching.
Michael Gunn, chair of million+ and vice-chancellor of Staffordshire University, welcomed the “timely” inquiry, saying it was “not clear” whether the policy was “the most effective way” of delivering teacher supply.
“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,” Professor Gunn said.
“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.”