Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Major Study Reveals Huge Variations in ITT Costs

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Major Study Reveals Huge Variations in ITT Costs

Article excerpt

Institute for Fiscal Studies also warns £312m a year is spent on trainees who later drop out

The government is spending at least £312 million a year on training teachers who drop out of the profession within five years, according to an in-depth study looking at the wide variations in the costs and retention rates of different training routes.

The average cost for each trainee who is still teaching in state schools after five years is between £25,000 and £44,000 for most routes, the analysis - the most comprehensive to date - finds.

But the figure is as much as £70,000 for Teach First, which also has the highest dropout rate for trainees - 60 per cent after five years - the study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says.

This compares with a dropout rate of 40 per cent for those on the former Graduate Teacher Programme (now replaced by School Direct salaried) or on school-centred initial teacher training (Scitt). The average cost of each trainee who is still in teaching five years later across all routes is £38,000.

The findings led researchers to stress the importance of the government focusing on retention and the cost-benefit ratio of different routes.

The comments come as the government is pushing for the emphasis to be placed on classroom-based teacher education through schemes such as School Direct.

"Dramatic changes to the system of initial teacher training should be based on assessments of the costs of each route in comparison to the benefit it brings, which has evidently not occurred to date," said Ellen Greaves, co-author of the IFS report.

Retention concerns

"School-led training has been introduced without clear knowledge of the costs and benefits of school-led and higher education-led training," Ms Greaves told TES. "There is a whole other set of questions about the economies of scale. If we move to a system with many small providers, are we able to get economies of scale?

"If the retention rates improved, the government would have to train fewer new teachers, which would reduce the cost."

The IFS points out that for most schools, the benefits of being involved with ITT outweigh the expense, and this is true even for routes with higher costs, such as Teach First.

Patsy Weighill, headteacher of Bilton School in Rugby, said that she took on potential trainees as paid learning supervisors for a year before they started a School Direct salaried course and then completed a newly qualified teacher year at the school. …

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