Education CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by the Department for Education

The Case for Change

1. No education system can be better than the quality of its teachers. As explained in the Schools White Paper, The Importance of Teaching, teaching standards have increased in this country in recent years and the current cohort of trainees is one of our best ever. In 2009, 24,000 full and part-time newly-qualified teachers (NQTs) joined a profession of around 450,000 teachers.1 The qualifications of candidates being accepted onto initial teacher training (ITT) courses have improved over recent years, with more candidates entering ITT with either good degrees or better UCAS tariff scores (see Annex A).

2. The overall effectiveness of ITT education programmes is high, with 90% of provision rated by Ofsted, in 2009–10, as “good” or “outstanding” (30% outstanding and 60% good).2 Satisfaction with ITT amongst senior leaders and NQTs is also high. Between 2007 and 2010, research found that nearly three quarters of senior leaders were satisfied or very satisfied with the choice of NQTs and over 75% of NQTs rated the effectiveness of the preparation ITT gave them for the role as good or very good.3

3. But we could do better: In 2009–10, Ofsted found that in 50% of secondary schools and 43% of primary schools, teaching is no better than satisfactory.4 Internationally we are not keeping up with the top performing countries and we are falling behind faster improving countries. The qualification levels of our teachers remain behind the highest performing countries. Internationally, the world’s best systems place importance on the level of education of their teachers, drawing them from the highest achieving third of graduates.5 In this country, 2% of first class honours graduates from Russell Group universities choose to teach after graduating.6

4. The failure to attract the most talented graduates into ITT is caused partly by the relatively low status of teaching compared to other occupations and by perceptions of feeling unsafe in the classroom,7 slow career progression and limited promotion opportunities.8 Countries with the highest performing school systems have succeeded in making teaching one of the pre-eminent professions, respected throughout society and attractive to the highest achievers. For example, in Finland more than a quarter of young people describe teaching as their number one career choice.9 This high social status leads in turn to strong competition for entry into teacher education.10 In the UK the perceived status of teaching is low amongst both teachers and graduates. In 2005, 90% of teachers rated the status of teaching as medium (47%) to low (43%)11 and in 2010, graduates rated the profession towards the bottom in terms of career progression.12

5. ITT has a critical role to play in improving the quality of teaching in schools. Not only does it supply the next generation of teachers but outstanding new teachers can also influence the quality of other teachers by sharing their latest know-how or knowledge in educational trends.

6. Yet ITT remains weak in some key areas of teaching. For example, 58% of primary trainees rated their preparation to teach reading, including the use of systematic synthetic phonics, as good or better compared with 87% rating their training overall as good or better.13

7. Retention of teachers is low. The latest available data show over 10% of those gaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) do not enter teaching and, of those who are employed in the maintained sector in the first year after qualifying, only 73% were still teaching in the maintained sector five years later. In 2008–09, about a quarter of those leaving teaching did so for retirement.14 There is no single reason teachers give for leaving the profession but workload15 and pupil behaviour16 have been shown to have an impact.

8. Teachers and schools are prevented from innovating by unnecessary and sometimes unhelpful central guidance and burdens. There is a range of evidence that shows that countries which give the most autonomy to head teachers and teachers are the ones that do best.

9. We therefore need to improve both the intake of trainees to ITT and the quality of ITT they receive. We also need to make training more relevant to the conditions trainees will face in schools and enable teachers to continue to develop throughout their career. Schools need to be given the freedom to innovate, manage behaviour and their pupils in the ways most suited to them and to work together to generate a self-improving school system.

Improving the Quality of ITT Candidates

Tightening entry requirements

10. A high quality teacher can add nearly half a GCSE point to a pupil’s results.17 Evidence suggests that good qualifications18 and subject knowledge19 link to improved teacher quality and, in turn, improved pupil performance.

11. Analysis also shows that degree class is a good predictor of whether a trainee will complete their course and achieve QTS.20 It is for these reasons and the impact on status that is discussed in paragraph 13 that we are strengthening the entry requirements for ITT courses and from September 2012 will only provide PGCE bursaries for trainees with a second class degree or higher. We are also introducing targeted bursaries of up to £20,000 to attract candidates with good qualifications in subjects where it is more difficult to recruit.

12. We are tightening up the assessment of a candidate’s suitability to be a teacher through improved literacy and numeracy tests. Alongside a commitment to teaching, resilience, perseverance and high levels of motivation, good teachers tend to have high overall levels of literacy and numeracy and strong interpersonal and communication skills.21 Literacy and numeracy tests will therefore become an upfront requirement of entry to ITT, with a move from unlimited re-sits to a maximum of three, from September 2012. ITT providers will also be expected to assess candidates’ interpersonal skills before accepting them onto training.

Attracting good candidates

13. We want to raise the status of teaching. Barber and Mourshed (2007) argue that by tightening entry requirements and making teacher training more selective it will become more attractive to high performers. Alongside this, a revised marketing campaign, led by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) will target high quality candidates, with the media strategy and messages designed to raise the status of teaching as a career choice.

14. We are expanding ITT that is proving effective in attracting the best candidates. Teach First has been shown to attract the highest performers. In the five years to 2009–10, 25% of Teach First students had a first class degree, compared with 9% of all teacher trainees.22 We are expanding Teach First across the country and to primary schools.

15. Good and outstanding candidates are more likely to find teaching an attractive career option if there are well established talent identification schemes and a clearly identified route through to leadership. Teach First is leading a scheme for young professionals, Teach Next, to attract them into teaching with an accelerated route to leadership. Teach First is working closely with the Armed Forces to attract highly talented Service leavers into teaching through this scheme as part of the Troops to Teachers programme. Other leadership schemes for talented teachers such as Teaching Leaders and Future Leaders are discussed in paragraph 38.

16. McKinsey (2010)23 noted that all high performing education systems emphasise the importance of developing talented individuals to ensure the supply of good leaders. This means proactively guiding the careers of potential leaders from an early stage so that they progressively gain greater leadership experience. The new national network of teaching schools (see paragraph 29) provides the opportunity for schools to work together to develop the talent of teachers right from the start of their careers.

17. Finally, the TDA is improving the services it offers to potential applicant. The applications process is being streamlined, making it less difficult to navigate and a single system for applications is being explored. Support systems such as the teaching information line and school experience programmes have been reshaped so that they focus on supporting high quality candidates, especially in the subjects where the candidate pool is the shallowest.

Improving the Quality and Relevance of ITT

18. All ITT routes have the potential to attract outstanding candidates. In 2011 the top ten providers, taking into account quality of training, entry qualifications and employment data, included a mix of different types of provision (four school-centred providers (SCITTs), four university providers and two employment-based providers (EBITTs).24 Barber and Mourshed (2007) observed that different routes into teaching allows trainees to take the path which best suited their needs.

19. We will retain different routes into teaching but focus on improving overall quality through allocating more places to higher quality providers. The TDA (and from April 2012 the Teaching Agency) will accept or reject bids for places taking into account factors such as the provider’s Ofsted inspection grade and employability record.

Greater school involvement and partnerships

20. To ensure that ITT fully prepares trainees for the classroom and that the supply of new teachers meets the needs of schools as employers, we are enabling schools to play a greater role. Musset et al (2010)25 found that where ITT programmes were linked to specific school needs, especially to activities based on demonstration and peer review, they were more effective.

21. Some schools are already very involved in ITT offering GTP places and hosting large numbers of trainees. Some schools and universities are already seeing the benefits of shared responsibility for ITT and are hosting joint staff appointments and secondments to facilitate better partnerships.

22. The new national network of teaching schools is helping to increase the involvement of schools and the quality of teacher training in the schools across their alliances. We are encouraging them to focus on the quality of placements and mentors for trainees which are both critical in setting a high early standard. The TDA is working with newly designated teaching schools to explore ways of enhancing the quality of ITT in priority areas.

23. Our initiative School Direct will give groups of schools such as teaching schools and academy chains greater ownership of ITT. The scheme will enable them to recruit and select trainees and train them to become qualified teachers.

24. Some schools also provide their own ITT as an accredited EBITT or SCITT. As teaching schools gather momentum and chains of academies look to improve their training, we will enable them to enter the ITT market if they wish, accrediting them as new providers if they demonstrate the required standards.

25. We will also encourage our best HE providers to develop University Training Schools. Based on a Finnish model, these schools are dedicated to integrated teacher training where the trainees have real access to the best university subject faculties and expertise in teacher education.

26. We are improving the training of key teaching skills, such as early reading and mathematics, managing behaviour and responding to pupils with special educational needs. TDA has developed a new package of materials to support provision. The new Teachers’ Standards for QTS—which will come into effect in England from September 2012—have a stronger focus on these areas to ensure that teachers focus on them throughout their teaching career.

Retaining the best Teachers

Freeing up schools

27. We are devolving as much power as possible to schools. There is a range of evidence that shows that countries which give the most autonomy to head teachers and teachers are the ones that do best. We are freeing up schools, removing the unnecessary barriers that prevent innovation and put people off teaching and encouraging schools to work together to develop and sustain change themselves. Our aim is to support the school system to become more effective at self-improvement with our best teachers and head teachers taking the lead.

28. Hargreaves (2011)26 argues that in a fully self-improving system the best professional development is a collaborative process of joint practice development between outstanding teachers and their colleagues both in their own school and across an alliance of schools working together.

29. The new national network of teaching schools being established by the National College and TDA is giving outstanding schools and school leaders a much greater role in the delivery of professional development and training for teachers. Teaching schools will play a fundamental role in ITT, CPD, leadership development and talent management in this country.

Assessment

30. Whilst autonomy is important, it is necessary that there are standards that all teachers have to meet to ensure a minimum level of competence across schools. These need to be clear and easy to understand and used for performance management purposes. Ongoing, regular performance management alongside high levels of lesson observation are a feature of the most successful education systems.27 Effective performance management is an important factor in ensuring that teachers develop and make positive changes to their teaching practices as well as increasing teachers’ job satisfaction.28

31. To support managers in schools to assess teachers we are making the Teacher Standards clearer and more focussed on the key elements of effective teaching. We have asked the Teachers’ Standards Review Group (TSRG) led by Sally Coates, principal of Burlington Danes Academy, to establish clear and rigorous standards of competence, ethics and behaviour that reflect the trust and professionalism we should be able to expect from our teachers. Phase 1 of the review is now complete and new Teachers’ Standards will come into force on 1 September 2012, replacing the existing standards for QTS and the core professional standards. The new standards will apply to all teachers throughout their career, defining the minimum level of practice expected of teachers from the point of being awarded QTS onwards. The TSRG is now considering the existing higher level standards: threshold, Advanced Skills Teachers and Excellent Teachers.

32. We also plan to revise the 2006 Performance Management Regulations in order to make them shorter and simpler to understand, removing unnecessary prescription, giving schools more flexibility and making it easier for schools to deal with cases of persistent and entrenched underperformance. We have recently consulted on changes to the regulations and on a “model policy” that combines arrangements for dealing with appraisal and lack of capability, which is intended to replace the current model policies on performance management and capability.

Reward

33. Whilst there is a freeze on teachers’ pay it is important that good teachers are properly rewarded and that they have access to a good quality pension scheme. We want to ensure that continues to be the case through current reforms of public sector pensions and we will increase the level of pay flexibilities available to schools. Academy schools already have these flexibilities and we will ask the School Teachers’ Review Body to examine the scope for, and make recommendations on, the introduction of greater freedoms and flexibilities for maintained schools at the end of the current pay freeze.

Teachers’ development

34. Teachers’ development is best decided at school and individual teacher level. Research shows that teachers learn best from other professionals and that observing teaching and being observed and receiving feedback from peers are the most effective forms of continuing professional development (CPD). Collaborative CPD, where teachers work together and learn from each other, seems to produce a greater impact on a range of outcomes.29 We are supporting this by stripping back the bureaucracy around performance management, induction and lesson observation limits and introducing new opportunities for development through a new Scholarship Fund.

35. We will remove bureaucracy in a number of areas to allow teachers to better manage their own development. As set out above, the TSRG will simplify teaching standards, helping teachers to reflect on their own progress against these and identify development needs. We are also consulting on a number of proposals to improve and update the current induction arrangements and make these arrangements easier for teachers and schools to operate. We have proposed to remove the “three hour limit” on lesson observation as part of our proposals on performance management, so that there will no limit on the amount of time a teacher can be observed by their managers or peers, allowing teachers to make better use of the positive impacts of observation.

36. A new competitive Scholarship Fund will provide opportunities for teachers to deepen and enhance their subject knowledge, as well as help increase the intellectual standing of teachers. In its initial year the scheme will focus on priority subjects (maths, English and science) and specialisms such as SEN.

37. Good leaders can motivate, develop and bring out the best in classroom teachers. Many of our best head teachers have become National and Local Leaders of Education, supporting other schools to improve by spreading good practice. We are now introducing a similar designation—Specialist Leader of Education (SLE)—at senior/middle leadership level. Teaching schools will designate the most outstanding leaders below head teacher such as assistant heads, subject leaders and school business managers as SLEs in a range of specialist areas and deploy them across their alliances.

38. Finally, we will continue to support efforts to build the leadership capacity of schools. Through the network of teaching schools, we expect the National College to enable more clusters of schools to offer their own high quality “middle leader” development programmes. We will also continue to support third sector organisations to expand the availability of their programmes examples of which include Future Leaders, a three-year programme to support highly talented teachers to progress quickly to leadership positions in challenging schools and Teaching Leaders, a two-year programme designed to support the development of outstanding subject or middle leaders in challenging schools. In addition, the National College is reviewing the National Professional Qualification for Headship to ensure it reflects the modern demands of headship.

Annex A

Table 1

PROPORTIONS OF POSTGRADUATE ENTRANTS TO INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING WITH SECOND-CLASS DEGREES AND ABOVE, BY TYPE OF COURSE AND PHASE 1998–99 TO 2009–10 ACADEMIC YEARS: ENGLAND

Postgraduate Mainstream Courses

Academic year of entry

Phase

Degree class

1998–99

1999–2000

2000–01

2001–02

2002–03

2003–04

2004–05

2005–06

2006–07

2007–08

2008–09

2009–10

Primary

2:1 and above

54%

53%

53%

55%

56%

57%

58%

60%

61%

63%

63%

64%

2:2 and above

92%

92%

92%

92%

94%

94%

93%

94%

95%

96%

96%

95%

 

Secondary (including KS2/3)

2:1 and above

50%

51%

52%

52%

54%

56%

57%

58%

58%

57%

59%

62%

2:2 and above

86%

87%

87%

88%

89%

90%

90%

90%

91%

89%

91%

91%

 

Primary and Secondary

2:1 and above

51%

51%

52%

53%

55%

56%

58%

59%

59%

59%

61%

63%

2:2 and above

88%

89%

89%

90%

91%

91%

91%

91%

93%

92%

93%

93%

Postgraduate Employment-Based Routes

Academic year of entry

Phase

Degree class

2001–02

2002–03

2003–04

2004–05

2005–06

2006–07

2007–08

2008–09

2009–10

Primary

2:1 and above

35%

46%

46%

50%

52%

55%

57%

57%

61%

2:2 and above

66%

83%

84%

86%

86%

89%

91%

91%

91%

 

Secondary (including KS2/3)

2:1 and above

41%

49%

48%

49%

53%

58%

57%

61%

62%

2:2 and above

69%

79%

82%

83%

87%

88%

89%

91%

91%

 

Primary and Secondary

2:1 and above

39%

48%

47%

49%

53%

57%

57%

60%

62%

2:2 and above

68%

80%

83%

84%

87%

89%

90%

91%

91%

All Postgraduate Routes

Academic year of entry

Phase

Degree class

2001–02

2002–03

2003–04

2004–05

2005–06

2006–07

2007–08

2008–09

2009–10

Primary

2:1 and above

52%

55%

55%

56%

59%

60%

62%

62%

63%

2:2 and above

89%

92%

92%

92%

93%

94%

95%

95%

94%

 

Secondary (including KS2/3)

2:1 and above

51%

54%

54%

56%

57%

58%

57%

60%

62%

2:2 and above

86%

87%

89%

89%

89%

91%

89%

91%

91%

 

Primary and Secondary

2:1 and above

51%

54%

55%

56%

58%

58%

59%

61%

62%

2:2 and above

87%

89%

90%

90%

91%

92%

91%

92%

92%

Source: TDA Performance Profiles

Notes

1 Includes those with a UK degree on entry Secondary ITT courses include Key Stage

2 2/3

3 The denominator includes those whose degree class is unknown or undefined

Table 2

PERCENTAGE OF APPLICANTS AND ACCEPTANCES VIA GTTR WITH AN UPPER SECOND DEGREE CLASS OR ABOVE IN MAINSTREAM POSTGRADUATE ROUTES. (SOURCE: GTTR)

Applications

Acceptances

2011

2010

2011

2010

Primary

55%

50%

66%

61%

Secondary

56%

51%

62%

58%

Overall

56%

50%

63%

59%

NB. This is a running total and not the final position. These numbers represent the year to date and may change once the census is taken in October.

References

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http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000927/index.shtml

2 The Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2009–10.

3 Sheffield Hallam University (2011), NQT Quality Improvement Study for the Training and Development Agency for Schools—Part 5 Report: The NQT year revisited, Centre for Education and Inclusion Research

4 The Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2009–10

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8 High Fliers poll (2010) quoted by the BBC, accessed at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8531347.stm

9 Barber and Mourshed (2007) How the World’s Best Performing School Systems Came Out On Top, McKinsey and Company

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13 TDA (2011) Newly qualified teacher survey located:
http://www.tda.gov.uk/training-provider/itt/data-surveys/~/media/resources/training-provider/data-surveys/nqt_survey_results_2011.pdf

14 DfE 2010

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https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/RR743.pdf
Rebecca Smees [2] and Tamjid Mujtaba

16 ATL (2008) Nearly a third of teachers face physical aggression at the hands of pupils, finds ATL survey http://www.atl.org.uk/Images/14%20March%202008%20-%20ann%20conf%20-%20Nearly%20a%20third%20teachers%20face%20aggression%20-%20final.pdf; Hobson, A J; Malderez, A; Tracey, L; Homer, M S; Ashby, P; Mitchell, N; McIntyre, J; Cooper, D; Roper, T; Chambers, G N and Tomlinson, P D (2006). Becoming a Teacher: Teachers’ Experiences of Initial Teacher Training, Induction and Early Professional Development Final Report DCSF RR115; MORI (2003) One In Three Teachers To Leave Within Five Years.
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19 Wilson, Floden & Ferrini-Mundy (2001) Does small really make a difference? A review of the literature on the effects of class size on teaching practice and pupils’ behaviour and attainment SCRE; Smithers and Robinson (2005) Physics in Schools and Colleges: Teacher Deployment and Student Outcomes, Carmichael Press: Liverpool

20 DfE internal analysis of degree class and teacher wastage (2011)

21 Barber and Mourshed (2007); OECD (2005) Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers, OECD, Paris.

22 Source: TDA Performance Profiles

23 Capturing the Leadership Premium (2010) McKinsey, accessed at,
http://www.mckinsey.com/clientservice/Social_Sector/our_practices/Education/Knowledge_Highlights/~/media/Reports/SSO/schoolleadership_final.ashx

24 Smithers, A and Robinson, P (2011), The Good Teacher Training Guide, Centre for Education and Employment Research, University of Buckingham

25 Musset (2010), Initial Teacher Training and Continuing Training Policies in a Comparative Perspective. OECD Working Papers, No. 48, OECD Publishing

26 Leading a self-improving system. (2011) Hargreaves, D.H., accessed at
http://www.nationalcollege.org.uk/docinfo?id=154604&filename=leading-a-self-improving-school-system.pdf

27 Barber and Mourshed (2007)

28 OECD (2009) Education at a Glance

29 Barber and Mourshed (2007); Hustler, D, McNamara, O, Jarvis, J, Londra, M, Campbell, A & Howson, J (2003), Teachers’ Perspectives of Continuing Professional Development, DfES; Bolam, R (2003). Presidential address to the International Professional Development Association Conference. 31 October; Cordingley, P (2000). Teacher perspectives on the accessibility and usability of research outputs: a paper prepared by P. Cordingley and the National Teacher Research Panel to the BERA 2000 conference, Cardiff University, 7–9 July. London: TTA

November 2011

Prepared 30th April 2012