One question often posed by our graduate applicants and schools weighing up whether to take on a trainee is whether school-based routes for initial teacher training are superior to training at a university. The trainee can gain a PGCE and Qualified Teacher Status at both.
The government clearly thinks so; since the launch of School Direct in 2012, there are now over 15,000 school-based training places which represent close to half of all trainee teachers.
Recently, the Institute for Fiscal Studies looked into this all important question. The results support initial teacher training within schools over university-led routes. One of the main reasons is that schools with a higher effectiveness from Ofsted are more likely to participate in ITT, particularly with School Direct.
Good schools, of course, want to share best practice with new teachers. Furthermore, the all important behaviour management skills of trainees is perceived to be better through school-based training rather than university-led. This is unsurprising given school based training affords the trainee almost full time exposure to a school.
Schools also welcome trainee teachers, since they provide fresh approaches to teaching and learning allowing others to benefit. Furthermore, the employment link to a school, rather than a university, raises the likelihood of being offered a permanent teaching post at the end of the training year.
One of the main concerns with initial teacher training is the potentially disruptive impact on pupil progress. In particular, about half of all primary heads surveyed for this report cited this as a major concern. However, the conclusion from the IFS report was very little impact exists. In fact, the presence of a school-based trainee has slightly positive contribution to pupil attainment.
The other often cited worry from schools is the cost of providing initial teacher training. Here the results are surprising. Whilst many schools believe that the financial benefit to training a teacher is broadly the same whether that individual comes through a university route or school-led route, this report suggests otherwise. Only 40% of respondents believed the benefits outweighed the costs for University led ITT compared with 68% under school centred ITT.
If you are interested in hosting a trainee at your school, find out more about how we can support you here.