Nearly half of school-based teacher training providers have seen a fall in the number of trainees securing jobs compared to this time last year, new research suggests.
Teacher trainers are calling for measures to "reassure schools and encourage them to employ NQTs [newly-qualified teachers]" after a survey found 45 per cent of school-based providers reported a drop in trainees with jobs lined up for September.
Providers suggested that fewer vacancies were being advertised this year, "possibly due to schools focusing on issues around Covid-19 and delaying dealing with recruitment until a later date".
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The National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT) asked school-centred initial teacher trainers (SCITTs) and school direct lead schools about their trainees' current employment prospects in April-May 2020, compared to the same period last year.
Based on 82 responses, 45 per cent of providers cited a drop in trainees securing jobs for September, 32 per said the number of confirmed jobs for trainees remained approximately the same as last year; and just 5 per cent said secured employment had proportionally increased.
On average, 49 per cent of trainees had jobs for 2020-21, though this ranged from 0 per cent to 100 per cent across providers, with initial evidence pointing to employment rates for primary roles being more adversely affected than secondary.
Providers said other potential reasons for the reported drop in vacancies could include "less movement (or ‘churn’) of existing staff", or "concerns over recruiting remotely".
Emma Hollis, NASBTT executive director, said some respondents suggested headteachers were unwilling to employ NQTs "because they feel they have not had enough experience in schools" – and appealed to school leaders to "support recruitment at all levels".
"While the headline figures are not where we would like them to be, respondents have reported that fewer vacancies are being advertised; possibly due to less movement (or ‘churn’) of existing staff, possibly due to concerns over recruiting remotely, and possibly due to schools focusing on issues around Covid-19 and delaying dealing with recruitment until a later date," she said.
"However, ITT providers are calling for announcements to be made about the support that will be put in place for NQTs from September. They feel this will help to reassure schools and encourage them to employ NQTs, and help to reassure trainees who are feeling unprepared and are lacking in confidence about starting new posts.
"Some respondents are also reporting that heads are unwilling to employ NQTs because they feel they have not had enough experience in schools. We appeal to school leaders to do everything they can to support recruitment at all levels."
The Department for Education has been approached for comment.