Michael Gove wishes the standards for QTS to be revised. I’m not against that – some of them are a bit flabby, and fluffy. It seems he wishes them to reflect the key skills needed by teachers. Again, not contentious – but of course there is that whole can of worms which resides in the arguments about exactly what those key skills may be.
Interestingly, he is quoted as saying that a failure rate on teacher education of 1.5% overall seems too low. Well, perhaps, this represents those who are not counselled off the training programme (which actually saves some government expenditure as the bursaries (and depending on when they leave), TDA fees are not paid) and, it should indeed be that low. It’s a little like the actual failure rate in the induction year, 18 failed last year but this number did not include all those who left teaching. So what are the full stats for the past few years?
The full stats then show that NQTs who do not progress past induction represents about 4% on average. Some people will say that this is still a very small number. Perhaps it is small, but what should it be? 5%, 10%, 20%? More?
We are judged as providers on our failure rate (to many failing is BAD). We are judged on our drop-out rate (too many drop-outs are BAD). We are told that when we accept people for ITT we should be as confident as we can that they have the right skills and attributes, so we try to be very selective and stringent. As a consequence our drop-out rate and failure rate should be very low, we are told – until now that is when we are told that it is very surprising that so few people fail the training.
I do hope that the DfE, the TDA (or whatever replaces it) and OFSTED will tell us what is an acceptable fail rate and that they will support us as high quality if we are stringent, don’t meet the targets and numbers we are given for recruitment and don’t p[punish us by reducing our targets, our income and strip us of numbers and downgrade us – which is what happened in the past. Will we get to a point of being patted on the back for a high fail rate? Somehow I doubt it – it will be turned into ‘our failure as a provider’ not that of the trainee. If we reject people and they appeal – will the DfE etc. support our professional judgement? Will they fully support us against the threat of litigation when we adjudge someone to be unsuitable for teaching on the basis of a personality test, but they have a first from Oxbridge? I suspect that suddenly government support will evaporate and they will magically abdicate all responsibility and suddenly it will be our decision and ours alone.