Teacher training revamp leaves universities with £1 million funding cuts
Cuts to the number of initial teacher training places in universities have left some institutions facing income shortfalls of more than £1 million.
A report by the Times Higher Educationreveals that London South Bank University and the University of St Mark and St John in Plymouth have been hardest hit, with all their core places slashed in the 2014-15 allocations.
Liverpool Hope University, which was told by Ofsted that it requires improvement in its primary provision, has lost all its primary postgraduate core places, and 69.3 per cent of its places overall. The University of Hertfordshire has had 53.2 per cent of places cut and York St John University has suffered a 49.4 per cent loss.
The only university providers whose places have been protected are those that have been rated as outstanding by Ofsted.
The government has been rapidly increasing the number of places on its School Direct programme, in which trainees are recruited by schools, which then sort out a training place with a higher education institution.
Universities can still secure funding from the government if they help to train teachers recruited through School Direct, but at a much reduced rate per student.
School Direct began in September 2012 with 900 places. Universities and school-centered initial teacher training (Scitt) then had 30,970 places. This year the government announced it had allocated 15,254 School Direct places for September 2014 and 25,817 places for universities and Scitts.
Peter Strike, vice-chancellor of the University of Cumbria, which has had a 44.2 per cent decrease in its number of core places, told THE that the government was not really addressing the issues of loss of funding and the instability that that will cause.
He said the scale of the cuts meant that Cumbria would lose £1.5 million in income.
But Patrick Smith, associate dean of the School for Education Futures at the University of Wolverhampton, said that it was not all about the money. “We do not need to continue with teacher training to maintain our financial base; we’re doing it because we feel it’s a moral and ethical obligation to work with schools in the region,” he told THE.
Sal Jarvis, dean of the University of Hertfordshire’s School of Education, said that the reduction in PGCE secondary places has been compensated by School Direct places.
“Our expectation is that both centre-based and school-based training will continue to be important,” Ms Jarvis said.