Over 15% of trainee teachers founder

August 4, 2006

Oxford boasts success as 37.8% fail at Greenwich, reports Olga Wojtas

More than a quarter of would-be secondary teachers fail to qualify at some universities, according to teacher training league tables.

Overall, just over 15 per cent of secondary trainees fail to qualify, but this week's report says that failure rates of 20 per cent or more at individual universities are not uncommon. Greenwich University's failure rate is 37.8 per cent, Brunel University's 33.2 per cent and Goldsmiths, University of London's is 26.7 per cent.

The failure rate for primary trainees is just under 12 per cent. The highest failure rate is 33.7 per cent at Goldsmiths, followed by Brunel with 30 per cent.

The tables are compiled by Alan Smithers and Pamela Robertson of Buckingham University's Centre for Education and Employment Research. They are based on data from the Training and Development Agency for Schools and cover undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications.

Professor Smithers said: "The striking thing this year is the relatively low proportion of final-year trainees entering teaching (and) the apparently high rate of failure to complete."

The message for universities was to attract the best-qualified recruits possible, he said. Chester and Oxford universities have the highest entry qualifications for teacher trainees. Chester has non-completion rates of just 1.9 per cent, while 94.3 per cent of Oxford's trainees qualify.

Professor Smithers said there could also be problems of oversupply, particularly in the North. Overall, 5 per cent of primary trainees were still seeking a teaching post after six months. This rose to almost 22 per cent for Northumbria University trainees and 13.7 per cent for Liverpool Hope.

"(Universities) must make sure their provision is in tune with employment opportunities in the area," Professor Smithers said.

The league tables, which have published for nine years, have been criticised for covering the number of final-year trainees going into teaching, Professor Smithers said, "but it is an important aspect of an applied subject".

Oxford again tops the league in terms of overall ranking, based on entry qualifications, Ofsted inspection ratings and numbers going into teaching.

The Institute of Education, University of London has seen the most marked improvement, rising in the rankings from 61 to 7 in the past three years.

Exeter has climbed from 18 to 4, partly because of a "perfect" Ofsted rating for secondary courses. Leeds Metropolitan University has experienced the biggest fall, from 19 in 2004 to 71. The report says this is mainly because of the drop in the number of primary trainees reported as entering teaching.

Cambridge, Manchester, Central England in Birmingham, Bristol and Sheffield universities have held top ten places over the past three years, while Bradford College, London Metropolitan, Greenwich, South Bank, East London and Middlesex universities have been in the bottom ten.

olga.wojtas@thes.co.uk

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