So, it seems that the NCTL (National College of Teaching and Leadership) has stopped Universities from recruiting PE trainees. Just a month after the process opened. Great news eh? The Teacher crisis is on its way to be solved, surely. Well, not quite. My understanding is that although there is no crisis in the supply of PE teachers, we have not yet got all the recruits we need. It’s just that one route has effectively been cut off, the traditional University PGCE route.Word on the grapevine is that History is not far off being stopped in universities.
Call me a cynic (and many do), but I cannot help wondering if the new recruitment model, which can, at the stroke of a Civil Servant’s keyboard, stop all recruitment into the University route, but keep the channels open to the far less successful School Direct route, which has consistently failed to live up to Minister’s expectations, is a cold and calculated policy to excise universities from having any role in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) other than as a minor partner who can carry the can for any failures.
On November 13th a missive from the NCTL stated that “whilst recruitment is looking healthy – especially in some of the popular subjects such as Physical Education (PE) and Primary – there is no need to panic as we are not close to stopping recruitment just yet.” Fast forward 10 days and PE is now closed to Universities. So much for the reassurances that universities will be told when levels hit 50%, 75% and nearly full in good time to plan.
What this current policy will lead to is, potentially, an extremely worrying and damaging situation. Universities will be forced into a recruitment situation where ‘first past the post’ in applications will get the offer of places, rather than what normally happens which is quality over speed of application.
In my mind quality should be at the forefront of any decision to allow entrants to the teaching profession, not how quickly you can get an application into a provider.
The pressure from above in universities will be to recruit first and fast, or your job is on the line. Worry about quality later.
Schools, on the other hand have a luxury – time to reject and look for the best or simply not bother to recruit with no worries or penalties. Even better, universities will now be forced to re-direct applicants to schools as there will be no choice and no way to accept them on a training course.
The government seems to be cutting off the most successful route to teacher recruitment simply to satisfy its desire to brand us all as failures. If our quality in recruitment does go down, the government will simply see this as ‘evidence’ that it was right all along, to shift recruitment to schools. The fact that they have manufactured the evidence with a cynical policy will be ignored.