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Third of trainee teachers shunning state schools

Teacher education and training

More than a third of students who start teacher training are still not working in state schools six months after courses finish, it was revealed.

Figures show just 62 per cent of students end up in state education as others either drop out of courses, shun the teaching profession altogether or get jobs in private schools.

It comes despite the fact that graduates are eligible for Government bursaries of up to £9,000 a year to train as school teachers in England.

The study, by Prof Alan Smithers and Dr Pamela Robinson, from Buckingham University, branded the training system “very wasteful”.
Prof Smithers added: “Each year we are putting five people through training just to provide three new teachers for state schools.”

Today’s report – The Good Teacher Training Guide 2011 – is based on an analysis of courses run in 2009/10.

At the time, all postgraduate students received Government bursaries of between £4,000 and £9,000 to train under a system set up by Labour.
Out of 39,103 students who started training that year, just 71.5 per cent were in teaching six months after courses finished.

Around 11 per cent failed to complete courses on time and a further 17.4 per cent were not in teaching, although some may have secured jobs after the six-month cut-off.

Almost one-in-10 were in private schools or other types of education and just 62.2 per cent had a job in state schools, it was revealed.
Responding to the findings, the Department for Education insisted it had since overhauled the teacher training system.

From September, bursaries have been abolished for all students other than those training to teach subjects suffering the greatest shortages, such as science, maths and foreign languages.

Ministers have also announced plans to refuse to fund students with third-class degrees in an attempt to raise teaching standards and train more staff directly in schools rather than universities.

“We know that we need to improve retention rates – that’s why we are reforming initial teacher training so that more time is spent in the classroom with a focus on the core skills a teacher needs, and ensuring there’s a better link between training and employment,” a spokesman said.

The report found that trainees were better qualified than previous years. Some 58 per cent of trainees had a 2:1 degree or better compared with 46 per cent when the report was first published 14 years ago.

But the study said this was consistent with trends of “grade inflation” in universities in recent years – not necessarily a sign of higher standards.

The report also said many subjects still “struggle” to find well-qualified students. More than a third of those training to teach foreign languages in 2009/10 had a third-class degree or worse. A quarter of maths and physics trainees were also in training despite having a poor degree grade.

The Telegraph, August 11, 2011


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