Overhaul to teacher training adds further pressure to the education sector

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Michaela Powell, Managing Director of Education Recruitment Agency Aspire People, brings forward concerns over people entering in to the teaching profession.

Michaela Powell, Managing Director, Aspire People Education Recruitment Agency

Its not just about attracting people with a high level of education but those suited to the teaching profession. Teachers need to be able to cope with the highs and lows that come with the job.

From September 2013, one of the training routes in to teaching, the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP,) will no longer exist.

Every year 30,000 student teachers enter initial teacher training through a number of routes. The GTP was first introduced in 1998, aimed at mature entrants to the teaching profession. For students that couldn't afford to give up work and undertake a course at university, it allowed them to “train on the job” whilst earning a wage.

The School Direct programme, launched in 2012, will completely replace the GTP from September and is expected to train around 7,500 teachers across England.

There are two School Direct routes that trainee teachers will be able to choose from. Graduates with three years work experience can work in schools and receive a salary. However, graduates without this experience will have to pay up to £9,000 for the training.

The Department for Education says: "School Direct allows schools to grow their own new teachers by giving them the opportunity to recruit and train their own staff.”

An education union ATL asks: “Is this a good way to train teachers, and is it even achievable on the scale required? ATL believes ITT should include a breadth and depth of knowledge. New teachers need to understand child development and special educational needs through evidence-based theory, classroom practice and access to specialist expertise. Student teachers on School Direct could have a teaching timetable from the very beginning of their training year and could have far less exposure to education theory than through routes such as the PGCE.”

The government have strongly enforced an argument that high-quality teaching comes from people with a very strong academic background. It has been reported that roughly 30,000 new teachers are needed every year. The government want roughly a quarter to go through School Direct by the end of the current Parliament.

Michaela Powell, Managing Director for Education Recruitment Agency Aspire People, said: "The concerns we have are on ensuring the very best candidates are attracted into teaching. It's not just about attracting people with a high level of education but those suited to the teaching profession. Teachers need to be able to cope with the highs and lows that come with the job, the challenges that you face in those first two or three years are extraordinary. Otherwise, the number of teachers leaving the profession will increase.”

“Further to this, the government have scrapped return-to-teaching training for anyone who wants to get back in to the teaching sector. I can’t help but feel that by supporting and training returners this will help fill the subject shortage gap a lot more effectively. From meetings we have attended with REC (Recruitment Employment Confederation) and The Teaching Agency we have been left with the impression that the private sector will foot the bill for re-training and supporting returners. This is something that Aspire People have had to pay for, as we feel that there just isn’t enough support for returners out there.”

Changes to ITT are just one of the new pressures to education on top of the growing rate of schools converting in to academies and changes to Ofsted inspections.

If you want to find out more about how to get in to teaching and what teacher training routes would suit you head to Aspire People’s website for more information.

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Cherie-Anne Baxter
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