NQTs 'steered away' from private sector

30th November 2007 at 00:00
Trainee teachers are receiving hostile treatment from tutors if they decide to work in independent schools, a survey has revealed.

The Independent Schools Council said some universities were failing to tell, or deliberately misleading, newly qualified teachers about completing their induction years in private schools. Its survey of 757 teachers who started in independent schools last year revealed significant bias against the sector, it said.

Judith Fenn, ISC director of induction and recruitment, has written to 150 teacher training institutions, asking for fairer treatment.

"We aren't asking for the independent sector's name to be put up in lights. We know most teachers will go into the state sector, but let's be professional about this," she said.

"At worst, people who answered our survey were told they were selling their souls and wasting taxpayers' money. That's pretty hostile."

Surprisingly, Ms Fenn highlighted Oxford and Cambridge universities for particular criticism.

At Cambridge, of the 35 NQTs who secured jobs in private schools, only six said they had received a positive response from tutors. Of the 17 at Oxford, only one received a positive response. The others said tutors had either been negative or neutral about their jobs.

Mike Younger, head of Cambridge University's education faculty, said it had received no negative feedback from teachers who found jobs in the independent sector.

"The message given to students is that there is such diversity and variety in both state and independent sector that each post must be judged on its merits," he said.

Overall, more than 40 per cent of those surveyed were not told it was possible to complete their inductions at independent schools.

Statistics reveal that more NQTs complete their first year of teaching in independent schools than in any single local authority. Kent employed the largest number of new teachers, taking on 744 in 2005-06. The independent sector employed 1,212 in the same year.

The ISC also disclosed private schools were enjoying great success at winning places at top Russell Group universities. New figures show 65.6 per cent of pupils from a sample of independent schools - up from 62.5 per cent in 2006 - were successful in their applications.

Charm schools, page 20.

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