Unsuitable students should be gently shown the door

Trainee teachers who find they cannot cope with the realities of school life need counselling out of the profession, a government report has said.

A critical investigation into secondary teacher recruitment by MPs, found that around a third of trainee teachers did not complete their courses or get jobs in schools.

A report giving the Government's response said: "Part of the solution is to make sure that trainees are aware of the realities of the profession before they start training. For some, teaching will not be the right career and it is important that they are counselled out of the profession."

The report said that around three-quarters of those who did gain teaching jobs were still in the profession 10 years later. But it said that too many trainees were dropping out. Ministers would need to consider further action in the light of the findings.

The Government is working with the General Teaching Council for England and the Teacher Training Agency on a six-year research scheme called Becoming a Teacher, which began last year and involves tracking hundreds of trainees.

Secondary trainees were surveyed as part of the scheme this year. A total of 87 per cent said it was "very likely" they would enter teaching at the end of their course. Only 1 per cent said it was "fairly unlikely" or "very unlikely".

Professor Alan Smithers of Buckingham university said that the main reason trainees failed to stay was that they could not find appropriate jobs in their subjects.

He said it was significant that those who did school-centred training, rather than courses at universities, had higher staying-on rates.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers said it was more concerned about newly-qualified teachers who abandoned the profession because of poor management than those who decided that the job did not suit them.

Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said: "There always will be some who realise teaching is not for them and it is better they find that out early on."

Secondary education: Teacher recruitment and retention: Government's response is at www.parliament.uk

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