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Teacher training crisis: Universities demand to know where cuts will be deepest

Ministers have been urged to quickly reveal details of how and where cuts to university-based teacher training will be most felt, as concerns grow over a crisis in the sector.

James Noble-Rogers, executive director of the Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET), has today wirtten to the government.

Figures published last week illustrate a drastic rethinking in the government's plans for the distribution of teacher training - it has made no secret to see the locus of ITT moved from university to school-based training.

For 2014-15 overall numbers for School Direct places, ministers' preferred new style of training, have shot up from 9,600 in the current year to 15,400, while universities have seen PGCE places drop overall from 20,000 to 16,200 and undergraduate teaching degrees from 6,800 to 6,700.

Now UCET is demanding a detailed breakdown of the allocations by subject, phase and individual institution.

In his letter to David Laws, education minister, Nobel-Rogers, executive director of UCET points out that an appropriate balance between School Direct and core places (mainly places provided in higher education) is vital.

The government has said that the figures are provisional and more details will be provided on subjects, phase and individual institution once they are finalised and before the end of 2013.

But Mr Nobel-Rogers writes: “The only apparent reason that it should now be kept secret is to prevent a timely and legitimate analysis of data before allocations are finalised.”

He adds that he wants the National College for Teaching and Leadership to provide the information immediately, and has made a freedom of information request for it.

Speaking to the TES, Mr Nobel-Rogers said: “We need a breakdown by primary, secondary and subject so we can advise our members and we need that before the figures are finalised. There is no point doing an analysis afterwards.

"We can’t see if the expansion of School Direct is at the expense of secondary numbers in higher education or primary numbers, we need to do an analysis and give feedback before the numbers are made final.”

In response, a DfE spokesperson said: "School Direct is proving very popular with both trainees and schools. Last year, three candidates applied for every School Direct place, compared with 1.8 applicants per place in universities. Requests from schools for School Direct places have shot up from 9,600 to 17,700 in the past year.
"Universities remain integral to teacher training. Higher education institutions are involved in 82 per cent of teacher training overall."

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