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One in 10 trainees just didn't show up;Letter

YOUR table shows teacher training vacancies in every single subject ("Recruitment campaign falters", TES, October 1).

One of the reasons that the targets in some subjects are not reached is the large number of applicants who formally accept places, but who withdraw before courses start at such short notice that it prevents vacancies being filled and therefore denies others the chance of a place.

We lost 23 recruits from late withdrawals this year, leaving several subjects with one or two vacancies, despite our normal practice of offering more places than our Teacher Training Agency-contracted numbers.

This was more than 10 per cent of our total TTA intake target.

In these cases the applicant's signed confirmation of place acceptance is not worth the paper it is written on, and there appears to be no sanction that can be applied to enforce that contract or compensate the institute when it is broken.

Quite apart from its impact on the overall recruitment picture, it means that we could be penalised by the TTA's holdback of funds for not reaching contracted targets, through no fault of our own and notwithstanding the most strenuous year-long recruitment efforts.

Has anyone a solution for this, especially the TTA?

Malcolm Lewis

PGCE course director

University of Bristol

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