Tables 'will make recruitment of teachers harder'

September 18, 1998

Universities have attacked the government's plans to publish the first performance tables of teacher training institutions next week.

Vice-chancellors and heads of education departments fear that the tables, part of the school standards drive, could exacerbate the student recruitment crisis and damage initiatives to widen access.

Mike Newby, chair of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers and head of education at Plymouth University, has warned that the tables will encourage universities to reject students with non-traditional qualifications.

Ministers announced plans to publish the tables in May, warning that those institutions that do not measure up will be closed. Those that do well will be rewarded with funding for expansion.

The Teacher Training Agency, which is expected to publish the tables next week, said that the data cannot be used to create league tables, and will be used primarily to inform student choice. But universities have warned that the assessment criteria are flawed.

The tables will include the results for all providers in all subjects of inspections by school standards watchdog Ofsted. There will be details of the percentage of students on each course who successfully achieved qualified teacher status and the percentage of those who secured a job.

But controversy surrounds the decision to include data on the prior achievement of students. The tables on undergraduate training courses will include the percentage of students achieving 20 or more points at A level, and for postgraduate courses a figure will be given for those who achieved a 2:1 degree classification or above.

Professor Newby said: "There is a strong incentive for institutions to say 'no' to talented students who have not got traditional qualifications. This is a big mistake at the time of an impending recruitment crisis."

The TTA said: "We do not agree that by publishing A and AS-level point scores that the TTA is failing to recognise the mission and achievements of institutions that try to recruit trainees with non-standard entry qualifications. The profiles will show the proportion of final-year trainees gaining qualified teacher status and the proportion which gains employment as teachers. These indicators will be every bit as important to recruits as entry scores."

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