The (still) continuing farce of School Direct

For anyone who has been following this Government’s flagship policy of School Direct over recent years, this article in yesterday’s TES will be no surprise at all.

The key result of this policy to try to move initial teacher education away from HEI and relocate it in schools is that schools themselves are now facing the most severe teacher shortage in a decade. Congratulations to all those schools and head teachers who thought it would be a good idea to try and train their own teachers! You are complicit in causing severe damage to our national ITE infrastructure. The TES report shows that the number of vacancies going unfilled is increasing and that while some subjects are meeting recruitment targets, others are falling far short.

The study was done by Professor John Howson, whose blog has charted the continuing challenges and chaos around teacher supply over the last few years. Howson is particularly scathing about the inability of School Direct to address shortages in key subject areas such as Music, Design & Technology, RE, Biology and Physics.

Anyone who has read my blog over the years will know that I’m no fan of School Direct. It has  created chaos in the ITE system as a whole and has no significant advantages over an HEI led system which, as anyone who knows even a small amount about ITE, is delivered in partnership with schools already (every student has to spend 2/3 of their time in school anyway, and this is legislated for).

This is not to say that individual students on School Direct do not have a good experience. Our current cohort of Music PGCE students contains seven School Direct students and I would like to think that they get a great experience during their time with us at MMU. But the blunt reality is that the School Direct system as a whole is failing and should be abolished immediately after the next General Election. It has been a terrible policy, poorly and hastily implemented, and now we can see clearly that it is failing to deliver in key areas. 

Tristam Hunt – will you commit to dismantling School Direct if Labour come to power next year?

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