Universities have been dealt a “slap in the face” by the government in the form of the latest initial teacher training allocations update from the National College for Teaching and Leadership, it has been claimed.
In a message sent to initial teacher training providers last week, the NCTL, which is the Department for Education agency that funds teacher training, invited schools and providers of school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) courses to bid for extra places through its School Direct training scheme. However, it did not offer more teacher training places to higher education institutions.
“We are now able to offer more School Direct places to schools if you have already filled your places in a particular subject and have more candidates to whom you would like to make an offer,” the NCTL said. “Please note that these places are only available to schools and SCITTs that have already filled their initial allocation in that subject.”
James Noble-Rogers, executive director of the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers, said the decision made little sense, and added that the extra places would have been filled quickly had they been given to universities for qualifications such as the postgraduate certificate in education.
“This is a slap in the face. Despite best efforts to work collaboratively, NCTL goes out and offers extra places to School Direct, while again ignoring higher education institutions,” he said. “This is despite the fact that HEIs have greater success in recruitment than School Direct.”
Mr Noble-Rogers added: “This is not all about self-interest. If the government wants to avoid a teacher supply crisis, it should offer extra places to all providers that can fill them, not only to a selected group.”
Pam Tatlow, chief executive of the Million+ group of universities, said the decision “defies common sense”.
“The predilection of NCTL and the Department for Education to make decisions that will undermine the sustainability of teacher educational departments and future teacher supply is startling,” she said.
A DfE spokesman claimed that in “most cases” schools had fewer teacher training places than universities “and therefore, have more chance of filling them quickly”.
“We will continue to monitor recruitment and make further allocations if needed,” he said.