Constructed by a [un-named] colleague, this is a more honest email for potential student teachers: Continue reading
Here’s a copy of an email that the DfE has sent to anyone registered on the School Direct (SD) applications portal. It is encouraging those who might already have applied for a mainstream PGCE to switch towards SD in an desperate bid to fill the many outstanding places on this untried, untested programme.
This email has caused quite a stir in the ITT community. It seems like a deliberate attempt to poach students from PGCE routes for Gove’s favoured SD route. It also contains many inaccuracies:
‘Competition for training places is high’. No! Not for a Schools Direct place. In fact, when asked a parliamentary question on the 24th April 2013 about how many students had been recruited, Mr Laws’ best answer was, “The National College for Teaching and Learning will be publishing data on how many applicants there have been for Schools Direct places starting in September 2013 shortly”. In private meetings, DfE officials have been pushed to provide this information and but have refused on countless occasions. It seems clear that they have massively under-recruited but do not want this news getting out at this point; it would clearly be detrimental to those students considering this route. But the key question is, of course, why is the programme under-recruiting?
‘You can train as a teacher with an expectation of a job once you qualify’. No! You can expect whatever you want, but all the schools I have been in touch with are not offering any SD student a job following their training. Many schools have been put off from partaking in this programme because of this DfE-inspired myth.
‘You could receive a bursary of up to £20,000!’ No! Only if you teach one of a very few shortage subjects.
‘Or even be paid a salary’. No! I’ve yet to hear of one school offering a training salary of the type that the old style GTP offered.
All this is very sad. The UK had a very high quality programme of HEI-led of initial teacher education delivered in partnership with schools. This has slowly been dismantled by Gove for ideological, not educational, reasons. Anyone who has been following this blog will have read the views of other significant people in the educational community who are warning of a crisis in teacher training if this continues. Recently, Professor Sir Robert Burgess, Vice Chancellor of the University of Leicester, has written directly to Michael Gove about his concerns.
Schools Direct is the latest ill-thought through, hastily implemented, and pretty much unworkable idea that Gove and his new crony, Charlie Taylor, have come up with. Anyone with an ounce of common sense and knowledge in this area will know that it is bound to fail. Yet in another parliamentary question asked to Mr Laws on the 24th April 2013 he couldn’t even confirm that a formal external evaluation of Schools Direct would be commissioned.
Interestingly, of course, the email didn’t encourage students who had applied for Teach First to also apply and transfer for the Schools Direct programme. Funny that.
What should the leaders of our Faculties of Education do in response to this? Well, UCET did issue a response to this email (although today this seems to have been withdrawn from their website). My view is that all universities that are involved in Schools Direct should withdraw their staff and other resources from it immediately. We are only shooting ourselves in the foot by engaging with this scheming and manipulative approach to teacher training.
Whilst they are at it, all universities should refuse to cooperate with Ofsted until the obvious political bias of and influence on their work has been examined and removed. They are not an independent watchdog anymore and their judgements cannot be trusted.
Gove, Wilshaw and Taylor. What a damming testament to the state of initial teacher education in this country.
In my opinion, the ISM has done more than any other organisation in the UK to support the cause of music and arts education in our schools. For various reasons (which I won’t go into now), I find this slightly curious but I take my (proverbial) hat off to them for their work.
I would urge you to support their Bacc for the Future campaign. A recent correspondence from (see below) provides all the details you need. They reinforce a vitally important point that we all need to understand. Gove’s u-turn on the EBacc wasn’t really a u-turn on what you think it was! There was a difference between what he did a u-turn on and the requirement for schools to provide data for league tables that show how many students have obtained an EBacc. As we all know, this is still having a highly detrimental effect on the provision of music and arts courses in our schools across the UK.
Here is the text of the communication I received from the ISM. The deadline for the Government consultation is the 1st May and I would urge you to respond and make your concerns known. Continue reading
This morning I’ve been tweeting extracts from this report, the DfE’s own analysis of the 2010 school workforce census. Whilst some might consider this excellent bed-time reading, it does contain some interesting evidence about key issues within the educational debate today, e.g. the academies programme and the differences between different routes of initial teacher education.
On academies, it was interesting to note that the average teacher in an academy earns less than their counterpart in a LA maintained school; but that academies pay the highest average leadership salaries across the age groups; teachers in maintained secondary schools are also more likely to have higher degrees that their colleagues in academy schools (I’m not sure that the two are linked though!).
However, it was the data surrounding teacher retention that really struck me as interesting. It confirms something that many of us have known for quite a while: students who train to be teachers on the Teach First programme only ‘enjoy’ short teaching careers. How short? Well, the report says this:
The teacher training route for secondary teachers played an important role in influencing the odds of leaving the profession. In particular, teachers with Teach First training had odds of leaving which were five times higher than the odds for those with post-graduate training (n = 170). This is not unexpected given the objectives of the Teach First programme to bring very able graduates into teaching for two years prior to entering another profession or occupation (although it is hoped that around one half will remain in teaching beyond two years). (p.89)
So, train with Teach First and you are five times more likely to leave teaching than if you trained in a more conventional (PGCE) route. In fact, training to be a teacher with Teach First is the largest single factor by which teachers leave teaching early (i.e. within 5 years). Here is the table that shows the likelihood or not of leaving teaching (factors above 1 increase the likelihood of leaving; factors below 1 indicate that person is less likely to leave teaching):
Although the figures for teachers leaving teaching after two years are not quoted in this year, the above quote is enlightening. The best that the DfE can say is that they ‘hope’ that 50% of teachers who have trained with Teach First remain in teaching after 2 years.
As an aside, hats off to our colleagues running graduate work-based training programmes, you are more likely to still be teaching after 5 years, by a small margin (0.8), compared to a traditional PGCE route.
I know some readers of this blog think I have a vendetta against Teach First. This is not the case. However, we all need to remember that Teach First is by far the most expensive and ineffective way to train our teachers. The sadness here is significant:
- Tax payers money could be better spent (remember, Teach First have just received £76 million to run their programme for the next 3 years);
- Teach First students don’t enjoy sustained teaching careers (with all the knock on effects that this has for the stability of an individual school’s workforce);
- Other initial teacher education routes and the universities that have provided them are suffering and many have closed or will close in the future (read my post on Sir Tim Brighouse’s views on this if you don’t believe me);
- Individual academics working in universities are afraid to speak out under contractual obligations that stifle freedom of expression and will, eventually, lead to whistle-blowing about shoddy practices surrounding programmes like Teach First (at great expense to those individuals who take that bold step).
But perhaps the thing that annoys me most, is that Teach First have the cheek to make a virtue out of such an obvious failing. Hey folks, enjoy a short career in teaching (after all, the teaching profession will be eternally grateful for your contribution) before moving on elsewhere to a proper career in industry, business or banking.
The Labour Government who facilitated the introduction of this style of teacher training, and the Coalition Government that has sustained it, should both hang their collective heads in shame. There may be a political consensus here at the moment, but I suspect history will not be such a kind judge.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on this and if you feel strongly like me, please write to your MP about this shocking waste of money and the detrimental effect it is having on the wider ITE sector.
And if you work on a Teach First programme and are too frightened to speak out about it publicly, please feel free to contact me in confidence about your experiences.
I think it is fair to say that the production of the proposed National Curriculum Programmes has been one of the most political processes in the history of the National Curriculum. As I wrote about in a previous post, even in the production of the original National Curriculum the Secretary of State for Education at the time was at pains to try and keep some political distance from the process. For Music, this meant that key academics like Keith Swanwick played a prominent role in co-ordinating responses.
Not so today. Gove’s imprint is all over these reforms, with charges being made (in the New Statesman) that he actually wrote the History PoS himself (something that he has not refuted). This week, I read outrageous stories of Gove’s direct political interference relating to the production of the ICT programmes of study.
For Music, we are still none the wiser as to who wrote the actual Programmes of Study. Perhaps I should open a book? Equal odds on Dick Hallam or a faceless civil servant within the DfE perhaps? Continue reading
Gove Versus Reality looks at the policies pursued by Michael Gove for his radical and draconian transformation of the English education system challenging his assumptions and the evidence he advances to support his approach. Please tell your friends about this site and take action by writing a letter to your MP expressing your concerns. You can use this form to match your postcode to your MP email should you wish.
I’m sure that most of you who have an interest in music education in the UK will already know that long awaited Henley Review into Music Education was published today. Congratulations need to be extended to Darren Henley for his extensive review which identifies many of the considerable successes of music education in this country. I would urge all of you to read his report and the associated recommendations rather than rely on others’ summaries. For that reason, I don’t intend to provide a summary of his recommendations here.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I am of the view that Henley’s review has, in the main, been superceded by wider developments in Coalition education policy over recent months. Therefore, the Government responses to Henley’s review are particularly interesting. They have also been published today. Unlike the Henley report itself, they indicate that much is to be decided and, as with all these things, the devil will be the detail as it emerges over the next year or so.
For my part, I’d like to concentrate on Henley’s recommendations and the Government’s response to them. Like some of the groups that have already commented, I’m going to spend more time on certain recommendations which seem, to me, to be particularly important, praise-worthy, or troublesome. I’m sure others will have their own ‘favourites’ for their discussion.
I am delighted with this clear and unambiguous statement about the key informants to a broad music education. They echo, of course, the structure of the current National Curriculum for Music which (as I have written about on many occasions) underpin a holistic and integrated model of music education. Whilst I would have liked the recommendation to be clearer about the integration of these key elements, I am very pleased that Henley has made this his primary recommendation and situated it within the remit of the school.
For the Government’s response, less praise I’m afraid. The 2010 White Paper has nothing of this sentiment. A ‘rich menu of cultural experiences’ does not equate to a model of music education of the type we have today. I’m not impressed with the desire to produce a ‘statement of national ambition’. This would have little value or relevance and no statutory weight. If Henley’s opening recommendation is to hold sway, we will have to ensure it stays at the forefront of the debate over the coming months.
Great. It is good that the Sing Up resources are going to be supported for a further year. Henley suggests this should be until the end of Key Stage 3 (although I’m not sure that anyone gave any thought about how this would work in practice). Also, I’m uncertain about what a position of ‘self-sustainability’ would be but let’s see how this pans out. Credit where credit is due. The Government have seen the success of this and are prepared to support it for a further year. Good.
Another great statement but little in the Government’s response to convince me that this will happen.
More sensible stuff from Henley here. And a good response from the Government too. Monitoring policies carefully is important. Who is going to do this?
I can see problems here. It is beyond the scope of Henley or the DfE to dictate to schools what they will offer by way of KS4 and post-16 courses. As we have seen with the retrospective imposition of the EBacc, Music will be squeezed out of many schools if there is no firm policy. If no or few pupils opt for it, there will be many difficulties in maintaining staffing and resourcing for it at these levels. I’m very uncertain as to what the NC Review is doing to minimise the impact of polices that have already been decided.
Fantastic. 100% behind this and the response. I am a firm believer of providing these types of live experiences for all young people so the more we can do of this the better!
Of course. Who wouldn’t agree with this.
Yes. Partnerships are definitely the way forward. But in forging partnerships we must be careful not to loose essential and defining elements that each partner brings to the collaboration. More on this below.
Well done Darren! You have listened to many voices and have bold to include this as a recommendation. This is absolutely crucial in my view. If this doesn’t happen, music education is dead in the water within our schools.
The Government’s response is predictable. See my writing elsewhere for what I think will happen. Very disappointed here.
Sounds interesting. Let’s hope that there is a full range of key stakeholders represented, including those on the front line – music teachers in schools! Others with more experience of funding arrangements will have their own views as to alternative models.
I welcome the expansion of Ofsted’s role (if it happens). Call me a heretic if you like, but I believe that Ofsted has had a role to play in improving our schools across the UK. Schools can’t claim all the credit. I have no reason to doubt that they will help improve the work of other agencies too.
It was great to read that £82.5m of funding has been made available for 2011/12. I hope this is ring-fenced. I have been led to believe that it is. Gove has said it is ‘protected’ in interviews. It is a shame the Government response is not emphatic in this respect. If it is not ring-fenced, then I would be very worried that the decisions Local Authorities have already made would result in major funding cuts this April.
I’m not a great fan of hubs so wasn’t overly enthusiastic about this recommendation. I’m thinking that more work needs to be done here to prove it can really work.
Common sense really, isn’t it?
A centralised national purchasing system? Can’t see that happening.
I read this as a slap on the wrists of Youth Music. But others in the know may be able to shed light on this one?
Good news, as I know many in primary education really value this resource.
Again, call me a heretic but I remain unconvinced about the In Harmony projects and their statements of musical and cultural impact. Henley’s recommendation talks of how schools can link to cultural organisations. I love that. But I’m not sure we needed such an expensive project to teach us that. I wouldn’t have continued funding here.
As an state school educated, music service taught, ex-member of the NYO, I know what a fantastic experience it offers. I was pleased to see Henley’s recommendation here and the Government’s response. We should celebrate the achievements of our elite young musicians and sports-people.
This is a vital issue for primary initial teacher education. Henley’s recommendation does little to appease the current situation. A ‘new minimum number of hours of ITT for primary music teachers’ is far too wholly to have any effect. I’m not sure that the Government response stands much scrutiny either. Time will tell and let’s hope that I’m wrong on this one.
Again, a nice idea but I’m struggling to see Headteachers being won over on this one.
This is a very interesting recommendation. The notion of a ‘Qualified Music Educator’ is certainly something that many would welcome, me included. We ran a qualification like this at MMU last year for professional musicians from three leading chamber orchestras in the North West of England and it was (even if I say so myself) very successful. This was in no small part due to the work of Barry Russell, the course tutor, who did a fantastic job in sometimes difficult circumstances. I would like to see our work extended into something like the qualification suggested here.
However, there is a catch – and this is a BIG ONE. A ‘qualified music educator’ can not be seen to replace or be equivalent to a music teacher with qualified teacher status.
For me, things go downhill here quite quickly. I’m not sure who suggested to Henley that conservatoires are well placed to do this work (apart from the conservatoires themselves, perhaps?). This is not their core mission and, in my experience of working closely with the RNCM, I have found that there are many tensions between educational programmes and the other performance work that students do. I’m also pretty sure that most conservatoires would be shocked at having to include the ‘necessary components to enable all students to leave with the QME award’ within their programmes. I’m sure they will want to resist this (unless they need to chase the additional money?). This is not to say that conservatoire students shouldn’t have more elements like this in their courses.
I am worried and disappointed that the excellent work done by university-based music education departments is completely ignored at this point. In our case, MMU has worked closely with the RNCM and our partnership has resulted in excellent, truly collaborative, approaches to initial teacher education in Music that serve the classroom and instrumental contexts.
I know that my colleagues will be upset and angry at their marginalisation here.
But again, I sense a direction of travel here that seems like these students will become the music teachers of the future in our schools. In other words, we may loose the notion of the qualified teacher of music (i.e. on par with the qualified teacher of mathematics, science, geography, history, etc). This would be a disaster.
How would the science community respond to the idea that in order to be a teacher of science in our schools you could forget training for a PGCE, and just do some extra education work within a undergraduate science degree? I can’t think of any other subject on the school curriculum at the moment where this idea would get more than a few seconds thought before being dismissed. But this seems to be where things are heading.
Oh dear. I guess we had to expect Teach First to make an appearance at some point. And here they are, working hand in hand with the favoured conservatoires to provide a new model of music teacher initial teacher training for our most challenging schools. This is not the answer. As I discussed above, conservatoires don’t have the skill-set here; Teach First does a pretty poor job of training music teachers (from what I’ve heard from several sources) and ITT routes that have been very successful in Ofsted terms have been cut by 48% last week.
This is a recipe for disaster, unless you perceive as Music not having the same status of every other subject in the school (in which case it can be mainly taught by keen, unqualified, students with a little bit of educational theory/pedagogy from their undergraduate studies)?
The leaders of our national music associations should be first in line for the training! Only kidding
I just saw the term ‘national database’ and my eyes glazed over. Can’t see this happening. Central Government + ICT project = (you all know the answer).
Good schools do this already but more should. Good idea.
It would be nice to think this will continue in some way. We’ll see.
Again, good ideas from Henley here. Personally, I would be very interested in contributing to any review in this area. Technology has a vital part to play but this has been under-explored.
‘Fragmented and uncoordinated’ is a polite term. I can think of many others but I’ll resist the temptation to list them here.
I think that’s a no to the review, but all sensible recommendations here nonetheless.
Interesting. I thought that the cultural element was an integral part of this review? He has obviously managed to leave that and create some more work for himself! He must have so much spare time on his hands!