Teacher Trainee Dropouts

A report in the Independent ( “Four Out of ten trainees quit teaching early, report warns“, 14 August 2009) on trainee-teacher drop out rates makes for interesting if depressing reading. Six months after completing their PGCE course, only 63% are working in state schools and a further 16% quit teaching within three years.

I have not yet read the report (it is now on my “to do” list but the Independent does not link to it and so far I’ve not found it by googling.) so I do not know if it highlights one obvious reason why this state of affairs exists:

Teaching is nothing like the Government ads aimed at recruiting more people into the profession.

You must have seen them, such as the one featuring a teacher demonstrating the van de Graaf generator to an enthusiastic class. There are others in the same vein. In none of them can you see students furtively sending text messages, or throwing stuff at each other, verbally abusing the teacher or shouting that it’s “fucking boring, man”. It is my experience that many teachers, LSAs and lab techs would love to know where this wonderful school is so that they can apply for jobs there. Frankly, if many students enter teacher training courses believing the Government ads, it is little wonder that so many leave the profession when reality strikes them in the face (quite literally in some cases).

The Independent says that the report highlights the low qualifications of trainees:

Professor Smithers’ research highlights the low qualifications of students entering PGCE courses – with less than three fifths of the recruits to undergraduate teacher training courses having two A levels. The worst qualified were would be science teachers on initial teacher training courses – where only 31.1% had two A levels.

The first sentence puzzles me; PGCE stands for Post Graduate Certificate in Education, students entering this course have already obtained a degree. Undergraduate teacher training would be that leading to the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed). Also, I am totally gobsmacked somewhat surprised to learn that one can get onto a degree course in the UK having only one A level.

Surely the solution to this problem is staring our market driven ruling class in the face? We are always being told that the astonomical salaries and telephone number bonuses are necessary in the City to get the best calibre recruits. Why not increase the pay package of teachers to get the best recruits?

Sorry, just remembered. The great brains in the City wrecked their own industry so the public sector is going to have to be squeezed to pay for their bailout. As you were.

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