The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) has released a series of new reports centred on three focal points: the customer journey to initial teacher training (ITT); teachers returning to the profession; and linking initial teacher training and workforce data.
Highlighting key issues within the application process for ITT courses, as well as labelling the many available routes as ‘overwhelming’ and ‘confusing’, one report also showcases a significant variation in the retention rates of new teachers depending on the route taken to get into teaching; in addition to education and professional background.
The first, carried out by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) analysed the responses of 1,378 people who had either registered with UCAS, applied for early years ITT, or used the Department for Education’s ‘Get Into Teaching’ website. The authors claimed some were only ‘vaguely aware’ that training can be conducted within universities and schools are unaware of the ‘school-led options’ differences, and a majority is likely to stay and train in their local area. Some of the suggestions expressed throughout to combat this are: simplifying all available routes and their explanations; broadening all information to draw on a more diverse pool of candidates; and using social media to expand ITT support.
The second, which was conducted by the independent research provider, Education Datalab, found that the north west, north east and south west of the country appear to have significant numbers of new qualified teachers who do not immediately enter state schools after acquiring qualified teacher status (QTS). Although it has been recognised that ethnic minority teachers uphold very low retention rates – as well as those training on a part-time basis – the education training provider, Teach First, was found to have high retention rates of approximately 80 per cent for the year after QTS; but retention is poorer than other graduate routes by the second year, dropping to around 55 per cent and to 43 per cent in year three.
The third report, basing its results on a collaborative online survey between the NCTL research and returners teams, only collected 107 responses from schools and is acknowledged by its authors as an inconclusive piece of evidence. However, it did generate some interesting discussion points, including: returner teachers are more than likely perceived to lack experience and awareness of changing standards and expectations’ and questioned the thought process of why returner teachers left the profession in the first place. Nonetheless, schools that did have returner teachers on staff offered support by allowing the opportunity to observe lessons.