One-third of trainees never work as teachers

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The Independent Online
HUGE GAPS between the best and worst teacher training institutions are revealed in government performance tables published today.

While some can pick and choose their students, others are scraping the bottom of the barrel to fill courses. Recruitment of men is particularly difficult. Only 13 per cent of new teacher trainees are male and one school- based training scheme is exclusively female.

The Teacher Training Agency, which published the figures, said that too many teacher trainees are not going into the profession. One-third of secondary trainees and one-quarter of primary trainees do not take up teaching careers.

The tables have been produced by Professor Alan Smithers and Dr Pamela Robinson of Liverpool University. Overall, Oxford University is top and Leeds Metropolitan University bottom.

The statistics reveal big gaps between colleges and universities. At Homerton College, Cambridge, 67 per cent of the entry for undergraduate primary courses had at least a B and two Cs at A-level. At the University of North London and Bradford and Ilkley College, just 1 per cent do so.

Some institutions do badly on the qualifications measure because they admit a high proportion of mature students who have taken access courses after failing to gain formal qualifications at school.

The University of North London pointed out that it did very well on many of the performance indicators. It said that it had the highest proportion of students from access courses and from ethnic minorities.

The figures also show which institutions are most successful at recruiting men. Almost one-third of those on school-based schemes in Billericay and Cumbria are men, compared with 4 per cent at Sussex University and none at the Woodrow Consortium in Redditch, Worcestershire.

The Smithers/Robinson index is based on institutions' scores for entry qualifications, inspection and the proportion of trainees entering teaching.

Professor Smithers believes the performance table is like "a good-food guide" which will help to raise standards. He points out that some colleges which did badly on last year's performance indicators have made big improvements.

Anthea Millett, the Teacher Training Agency's chief executive, said: "We hope those considering teaching will find this document indispensable in deciding where to do their training, and that trainers will identify areas where they have scope to improve."

Professor Richard Pring, director of Oxford's department of educational studies, said: "The great merit of our department is the very real and close contact we have with schools. We are campaigning through the university to direct people into teaching."

Leeds Metropolitan University said it did not wish to comment on the figures.

Alan Smithers, Education Review, page 11