Grants are vital for recruitment

25th August 2006 at 01:00
Your headline about drop-out rates amongst trainee teachers, ("Millions wasted on drop-out trainees", TES, August 4) has echos of the views expressed by Treasury mandarins in the mid-1990s, when they scrapped the recruitment incentives in use at the time. This was because they were no longer needed.

The subsequent decline in applications for teacher training, which lasted until the introduction of the training grant in 2000, is well-known to policy makers and journalists.

No money spent on training is ever wasted, except in the minds of headline-writers and others who don't accept that even those who don't finish the course will have learnt something. Why should teaching be regarded any differently to other areas of training, where it is understood that not everyone who starts will have aptitude to complete the course?

The fact that there is no London supplement to the grant for those doing postgraduate teaching certificates may partly explain the fact the three institutions cited as having the highest drop-out rates are in the capital; that, and the fact that the graduate job market is at its most competitive in London.

With students having to pay top-up fees from September, policy makers will need to convince trainee teachers in the future why, unlike their graduate friends in the army, the police and even the civil service, they don't qualify for a salary during their training.

However, one positive suggestion to cut drop-out rates might be for the Government to invest more at the recruitment stage.

Ministers will know whether or not the vast sums spent on those who applied for the now defunct Fast Track Scheme brought lower drop-out rates when compared with the limited resources higher education can spend on selecting trainees.

Prof John Howson

Education Data Surveys Ltd

70 Rewley Road


Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today