Publications on the internet
Education Committee - Minutes of EvidenceHC 1515-ii
House of COMMONS
TAKEN BEFORE the
Attracting, Training and Retaining the Best Teachers
wednesday 7 December 2011
Professor Sir Robert Burgess, James Noble-Rogers and Dr Jacquie Nunn
Christine Blower, Dr Mary Bousted, Chris Keates and Malcolm Trobe
Evidence heard in Public Questions 182 - 303
USE OF THE TRANSCRIPT
This is an uncorrected transcript of evidence taken in public and reported to the House. The transcript has been placed on the internet on the authority of the Committee, and copies have been made available by the Vote Office for the use of Members and others.
Any public use of, or reference to, the contents should make clear that neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings.
Members who receive this for the purpose of correcting questions addressed by them to witnesses are asked to send corrections to the Committee Assistant.
Prospective witnesses may receive this in preparation for any written or oral evidence they may in due course give to the Committee.
Taken before the Education Committee
on Wednesday 7 December 2011
Mr Graham Stuart (Chair)
Examination of Witnesses
Witnesses: Professor Sir Robert Burgess, Chair, Teacher Education Advisory Group, James Noble-Rogers, Executive Director, Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET), and Dr Jacquie Nunn, Policy and Liaison Officer, UCET, gave evidence.
Q182 Chair: Good morning, and welcome to this session of the Education Committee inquiry into attracting, training and retaining the best teachers. Can I thank all three of you for taking time to speak to us today, and remind you that we write reports and make recommendations to the Government? They are obliged to respond, so please try to ensure you do not leave without having imprinted upon us clearly any thoughts you have as to what needs to change, or indeed that which most needs to be protected in the system as it stands. Could I start by asking you each to outline briefly what your organisation does and the relevance of that to this debate we are having?
James Noble-Rogers: I can speak on behalf of myself and Jacquie. We are the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers. We are a membership body for all the universities involved in initial teacher education, CPD for teachers, and educational research. As such we represent organisations directly responsible for training something like two-thirds of new teachers going into schools, but also indirectly, because we have a big involvement with school-based and employment-based routes into teaching, the majority of those going through that route as well.
Chair: Thank you very much, James-if I may call you James. We are relatively informal here and use first names. So, Sir Robert? [Laughter.] Yes, Bob.
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: I am the Chair of the Teacher Education Advisory Group, which is a group that brings together heads of institutions from Universities UK and Guild-HE that together make up the higher education provision across the sector for teacher education, so looking at aspects of teacher education and educational research in higher education institutions.
Chair: Thank you very much.
Q183 Pat Glass: Bob, can you tell me what the Teacher Education Advisory Group actually does? What kind of things does it consider, how often does it meet and who does it report to?
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: The group meets something like three to four times per year, depending on the amount of business. It looks at all aspects of teacher education and new proposals put forward by Government. It responds on behalf of the sector to consultation exercises, to the White Paper, to the implementation plan regarding teacher education, and it also looks to the long term in respect of trying to persuade Government and other bodies to think about the long-term implications. For example, if one says it is the Government’s objective, which it clearly is, to raise standards in schools, in what ways can teacher education provided through the higher education community contribute to that policy directive? It looks at the future planning.
At the moment we are reducing numbers collectively in the UK in respect of the number of students training for secondary school teaching. We know from the primary numbers that three or four years from now there will be a need to recruit more people again for secondary school teaching. So it is trying to anticipate some of the problems, and then assisting the debate that occurs, and hopefully the practice that occurs, in order to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of teachers, an appropriate style of preparing them for contemporary primary and secondary schooling, and also looking at the educational research that is conducted in order to support and enhance this.
Q184 Pat Glass: Is that not the job of the Training and Development Agency for Schools? Are they just simply not doing that?
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: Clearly it enters into dialogue with the Training and Development Agency. It also enters into dialogue with a range of other bodies. It is not doing the work of those bodies, but it is commenting on, contributing to and making informed comment in relation to the experience that occurs within the sector.
Q185 Pat Glass: Thank you. Generally what do you think of the IOE’s findings that in fact our English examinations are not careering down the international scales, as the Secretary of State suggests, but in actual fact going in the opposite direction? Do you believe that reforms to teacher training are therefore based on solid international evidence?
James Noble-Rogers: I would rather not comment on the IOE’s findings; it is a bit outside my area of expertise and I am not that familiar with them. If the findings are accurate, obviously they are to be welcomed.
On the Government’s teacher education reforms, there are parts we support and parts we have concerns about. We welcome very much the proposals to engage schools more closely in the delivery of initial teacher education. In fact universities have been calling for that for some time. We do think that the new teaching schools and teaching schools clusters could be a good way of achieving that engagement. I also very much welcome the moves to raise the status of teaching by increasing the entry qualifications for people going into teaching. On average that should improve quality and it will improve status, which will then act as a recruitment measure. I am pleased that in its implementation plan the Government has recognised that there does need to be some flexibility around the awarding of bursaries to recognise the contribution that people who might not have initial degrees that qualify for the higher bursaries could bring to the party. We also agree with the proposal in the implementation plan about greater synergy between QTLS and qualified teacher status. They are the good points.
We do have a number of concerns, though, and a lot of this depends on how things play out. The Schools Direct proposal, where initially 500 teacher training places will be allocated directly to schools where they recruit their own student teachers, is fair enough. If schools cannot recruit the teachers they need through the existing supply methodology, no problem with that. But, as hinted at in the implementation plan, if that becomes the norm for recruitment and the vast bulk of teacher training places are allocated directly to schools, that could have serious implications. Firstly, I think it would leave some schools out in the cold as far as recruitment of new teachers is concerned. They will not necessarily be in a position to recruit their own teachers. It will destabilise the existing high-quality ITT infrastructure we have to such an extent that I think a lot of universities, if they are expected to chase after annual contracts to train relatively small numbers of teachers from groups of schools or individual schools and do that on an annual basis, they will be very tempted to pull out of teacher education, which would be of huge detriment to the education system. We would not only lose the contribution they make to ITT but also, because of the way education departments work, to CPD and education research. There are a number of other proposals that the Government have in its implementation plan to do with entry tests, a single application system, which we support in principle, but the logistics of it will have to be looked at very carefully.
Q186 Pat Glass: Thanks. Jacquie?
Dr Nunn: You started off by talking about the quality of teaching and outcomes as measured by international standards. We are not here to talk, as the researchers have done, about the detail of that, but I do think there is considerable evidence that the HEI sector has done a good and an improving job over the last decade in this. Some of the international evidence in terms of where we stand on maths and science has reflected that, which I think is an outcome of the success that we have had as a sector, working alongside the TTA and now the TDA, in terms of pushing recruitment and incentivising recruitment for high-qualified teachers coming in.
If you look underneath those Ofsted grades at what they represent, Ofsted inspectors go out and they watch the teachers in school on those final school experiences, and they see the measure of that quality comes by what is happening in the classroom-the delivery and quality of the teaching. So we have substantial evidence that the quality of teaching is improving and that we are bringing in more of the right calibre of people in order to deliver those improvements, which show up in those international comparisons.
Q187 Pat Glass: Bob, do you want to make a comment?
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: I think the evidence that has come from Ofsted clearly indicates that the quality of provision in higher education has increased over the years. If you look at the entry qualifications, it is very evident that the recommendation that has been brought forward-that students should be admitted with a 2:2 or better in terms of class of degree-has long been implemented by higher education institutions. Indeed, if you look at the last decade, you see a gradual increase in the quality of the students that come in.
In terms of international comparisons, it is very interesting to see the way in which various pieces of data from particular countries’ experiences are chosen in order to enhance the argument that is being made. A lot of evidence has been assembled about the experience in Finland. One needs to look at the basic assumptions, which are that in Finnish society teaching is accorded much higher status than it is within the UK. One of the things that we have to think about is not just the routeways, bursaries and all of that, but how teaching as a career can be compared with other careers subsequently. From that point of view, that is one element that needs to be followed through.
One area that we tend to overlook at this stage in England is the extent to which teaching also relies on good quality CPD that follows from initial training. If you look at the Finnish experience, one of the things that occurs is that, in order to qualify, people have to engage in a CPD that links together theory and practice. Universities are uniquely equipped to do this, and if you look at the evidence in terms of the Masters programmes in Learning and Teaching that have been introduced in recent years, they are very popular with teachers. I think that indicates that it is not that one is saying, "Well, HEIs feel this is a very important area of work"; it is recognised by teachers. One of the things we have to do within the models that are being put forward is to think about how you develop CPD that plays to the integration of theory and practice. We have done good preparatory work in this area, but we have got to make it a reality, and we have got to make it happen because it clearly has an advantage for the teachers in the profession. It actually plays to the development of pedagogy and curriculum, and it enhances teaching and the status and expertise of the teacher.
Q188 Pat Glass: So it is not so much the ITT we are getting wrong; it is the CPD?
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: I think at the moment we are not giving enough space to the development of CPD and the recent recommendations, which means that for some of the Masters programmes that have been developed in the last few years there will be no money available to teachers-it will be cut off at a point when I, for one, thought we were just beginning to get it right, in the sense that we had actually got the balance right with the topic areas that teachers worked on and the enthusiasm that is reported and can be seen when I visit our School of Education. I think we need to think about all of those things, and think about it being so important not only to give good initial training but to give follow-up. After all, I do not think any of us would be too keen on visiting our doctors if they said, "Well, actually I trained in the mid-1960s; I have done no recent professional development. I haven’t investigated what new techniques of surgery are available." We would find that unthinkable, and yet we seem to think that this is okay as far as teachers are concerned. That is clearly not the case.
James Noble-Rogers: Can I endorse that? In our evidence we quoted the post-graduate professional development programmes, which were TDA funded. The money is now being withdrawn. They were delivered in partnership between schools and universities. They may have been one of the most evaluated forms of teachers’ CPD there has ever been. There were impact reports produced every year, they had to have impact in the classroom at their very core, and all the evidence pointed to them having a positive impact on teacher performance in the classroom, and crucially on retention in the profession.
Q189 Ian Mearns: Good morning. As representatives of higher education, is it safe to assume that you agree with witnesses we have previously heard who argued the training led by universities is the best provision? What evidence is there to back that up both nationally and internationally?
James Noble-Rogers: Just briefly, the Ofsted reports do consistently show that on average the mainstream universityled partnerships are of higher quality than the employment or school-based routes, and that those employment-based routes that have links with universities perform better than those that do not. But I don’t want to get into the game of saying this form of provision is better than that form of provision, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there is excellent SCITT and EBITT provision out there.
Secondly, a crucial point is that the distinction between mainstream university-led ITT and school-based and employment-based ITT is becoming increasingly misleading. We have what are described as HEI-led partnerships, and schools already have a major, leading role in the best partnerships, so in some respects those are both HEI-led and school-led programmes. Conversely, on SCITT and EBITT programmes, universities are involved to various degrees at various levels. Some SCITTs and EBITTs are actually run and managed and indeed established by universities, so it is a bit misleading to see them as being outside the university fold. There are other forms of support also provided, whether it is validating PGCEs or whatever.
The message we are trying to get across is there is really one teacher education sector in this country. They all adhere to the same Secretary of State requirements; they all operate according to the same QTS standards and, broadly speaking, according to the same values. They meet the needs of different groups of trainees and different schools, but it is increasingly one sector.
Dr Nunn: If you look at the experience of Teach First, which of course is not an accredited provider, their programme, notionally for the brightest and the best, is delivered through a partnership of 14 HEIs. There is no doubt there that the trainees appreciate and have an appetite for the academic underpinning of the programme that comes about because of that. But, as James said, the system that we have is a mixed economy, and the strength of that has been that, over more than a decade now, there has been a route into teaching for all of those who aspire to join the profession, and many of those routes are informed in different ways by HEI input. We believe that has been a real underpinning strength of the system.
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: I think it is very important to unpack the different routes and make sure that we have a clear understanding of what the different routes provide. Many of the assumptions that are made suggest these routes are very different. I think they are different in terms of attracting people into the profession. I call them students, but I realise the language of "trainees" is always used, which I personally think is far too narrow. The people who come on the courses may want to come through different routeways. Universities play a role in several of those routeways. I will give you an example.
As the Head of an institution with a School of Education, and indeed with all the other departments, I read all the external examiners’ reports and I mark them up for action by the departments concerned. When it comes to the School of Education, I read both the PGCE external examiners’ reports and also the external examiners’ reports for the SCITTs that we validate. As to the action points that are given there, I would mark up action points for the School of Education to discuss with the providers, because it is we, the University of Leicester, who validate the programmes in two SCITT programmes.
In terms of the way in which the courses operate, if you were to read the SCITT provision and the PGCE provision, I do not think you would find the sharp divide that is sometimes talked about by those people with relatively little knowledge in this area. What people care to say in some instances is, "Well, the university is very theoretical and the SCITT is very practical." Actually one of the beauties of what has been developed over the years is that there is now a good balance of theory and practice. There are not the sharp divides that may have been there at some time. Indeed, there is a blending together of theory and practice, of curriculum and pedagogy. I think in that sense it is that different routes are providing complementary training for different groups of people so that they are adequately prepared in order to join the profession.
Q190 Ian Mearns: Given the complexity of the picture that you have painted there, do you think there is more that the universities and higher education institutions could do to ensure that teacher training, where they have direct responsibility for it, has a stronger basis in practical experience, or do you think that is necessary?
Dr Nunn: If I can say something on this one, first of all I would question how great that notional divide between theory and practice is.
Q191 Chair: We had a seminar with recently trained teachers, and they felt that a more practically based curriculum would be appropriate. It was a sort of broad consensus. So it is not entirely just a prejudice of Ministers; it seemed to be a prejudice among a whole group of recently trained teachers.
Dr Nunn: Sometimes it is to do with the labels that are attached to things. I suppose if you were being prejudicial about it, you might have a mental picture of serried ranks of students sitting and making notes about the works John Dewey and so on. I think that in a QTS programme in most institutions you would look a very long time before you found anything like that. There is a place for that in universities, but typically it would be located in a BA Education programme, without QTS, where you are looking at the theory and the philosophy of education.
In my quite broad experience, the theoretical input in the context of a PGCE, or indeed a BA Undergraduate QTS programme, is much more what I would call practical theorising. If you look at reading lists and the kinds of materials and the journal articles that typically trainees or students would encounter there, they would be very much focused on practice. A lot of it is what we might call the grey literature.
Q192 Chair: Sorry, just to come back, rather than defence of the fact that you are sufficiently practical already, the question was: is there more that you should do, or is there in fact nothing more that you could do?
Dr Nunn: There is always more that can be done. One of the things is that I think there needs to be greater recognition given to the extent to which schoolteachers are contributing to the theoretical side of the training in that sense. We have heard about the considerable impact in schools, and those teachers who have undergone Masters-level study themselves, or involved in PPD-sometimes linked to their experience in mentoring and school-based training-are very well equipped and do contribute to that input of academic underpinning of the training in a very helpful kind of way.
Looking at some of the proposals we have ahead of us in the ITT strategy, there are many things there that we would endorse enormously: the idea of joined appointments, where schools with imaginative leadership engage in joint appointments-
Q193 Chair: Why has it taken this proposal to come forward for you to do what you are saying you have done before?
Dr Nunn: It has been piloted. When I was working in the TDA in the context of the partnership project, there was work that went on across the North East and Yorkshire and Humber, where we did exactly this, where schoolteachers were seconded. There was a cost element to it, which was why it was not rolled out nationally. Beyond that, it takes a mindset where school leaders are sometimes willing to engage in ways that sometimes appear a little radical and so on in order for these things to happen. But I have absolutely no doubt that across the HEI sector there is considerable appetite to engage in this, and we have the evidence from our senior managers who work with us in our committees that they are very keen to get involved in making a reality of some of these proposals.
Q194 Chair: Bob, have you got anything to add?
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: If I take evidence from 15 years ago, before I became a Vice-Chancellor I was involved in directing a research centre that brought together teachers and researchers. One of the things that we did was to have secondments from local authorities, where teachers worked on projects, but not projects that were based on mere abstract theorising that the university might or might not go in for-we did not go in for that-but actually engaging with practical issues. I can think of teachers who came to work with us who were involved in developing records of achievement in the school system. I can think of teachers who were involved in assessment projects that engaged with the work that they were doing. Only last week, I saw one of the people we employed as research staff, who started out as a teacher coming from a secondary school working on a research project. He is now a Professor of Education in the University of London Institute of Education, but the kind of work he does is informed by that background.
That is where the sharp divides that have been talked about really do not need to exist. You have to have the will to do this, but also you have to have the resources. These days the volume of resources available to make some of this happen are not there, because if you have cuts in schools and cuts in higher education-and we understand why those cuts are there-we would also need to evaluate what money needs to be put in place to carry some of these things forward.
Q195 Chair: So your recommendation is?
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: I would hope that you would endorse resources being put into schools to ensure that CPD and joint appointments can occur, and secondments. All those things are essential to have a strong teaching profession and to build upon the very good work that occurs in initial teacher education.
Q196 Ian Mearns: There has quite clearly from your perspective, therefore, been a significant blurring in terms of who takes the leadership role in different programmes. The Government have said that they want to encourage more universities to follow the example of the integrated working of the best university school partnerships. How broad and deeply embedded is that now across the whole of the sector?
James Noble-Rogers: There are some very good examples across the whole sector. Data on where the best practice rests on partnership is available and will become increasingly available as partnership becomes an increasing focus for Ofsted inspections. I personally welcome the Government’s attempts to make sure those best partnerships are replicated across the whole system. Part of the issue relates to the fact schools have to be engaged as well. You cannot assume it is universities that are unwilling to work with schools; sometimes schools have to be encouraged to work and engage with teacher education. You will remember this Committee in its last teacher training report recommended that, for schools to get the top Ofsted scores, it be an expectation that they be engaged with initial teacher education and CPD. I don’t know whether we want to go that far, but we should encourage schools to get more engaged so we can embed those partnerships properly.
Q197 Alex Cunningham: You speak of it increasingly as one sector across the whole business here. What do you consider to be the main challenges of the expanded school-based training? Do schools have the capacity and the appetite to do it? Are they ready for the greater responsibility and leadership role? And are universities ready to give way?
James Noble-Rogers: I don’t think it is a question of whether universities are willing to give way. Universities want schools to have more involvement in teacher education. One of the worries I mentioned earlier was the destabilising impact that transferring all ITT places direct to schools would have on the existing system. There are also things about leaving some schools out in the cold-not being in a position to recruit new staff and train their own teachers. You would also lose the role that universities or central ITT providers have in bringing new ideas and innovative practice into schools to address some, perhaps, institutional inbuilt conservatism within individual schools.
As for schools’ appetite, it has to be encouraged. There is a reference in the Good Teacher Training Guide to SCITTs coming in and out of existence, and the suggestion there that the appetite might not be that great. If the appetite is there, then I would want schools and universities to work much more closely in partnership. But let’s stop perhaps talking about shifting numbers away from universities and into schools, because I think that does miss the point. What we need is closer school engagement with ITT, with HEIs and other partners.
Q198 Alex Cunningham: But how is that actually going to be achievable? We know what needs to be done, but how is it actually going to be achievable?
James Noble-Rogers: Jacquie can come in in a minute, but there are real benefits to schools of being actively engaged in ITT, so they don’t see it as a bolt-on extra. As well as being seen as part of a professional obligation that they are involved in-training the next generation of teachers-we need to demonstrate how involvement in ITT could help with school improvement, staff selection, links to universities, CPD, and it can give them access to resources and ideas. There are real benefits to schools being engaged in ITT, and I think they need to be promoted.
Q199 Alex Cunningham: But it sounds like universities are not ready to relinquish it.
James Noble-Rogers: We are very willing to engage schools more; it is not a question of surrendering.
Q200 Chair: Bob?
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: If I engage in conversations with senior colleagues in our School of Education who are developing relationships with teaching schools, one of the things you find is that it is senior people who are entering into a dialogue with teachers in schools in order to hear what their expectations are, and indeed to share expectations as to how the work will be developed. In that sense you have to have practical engagement by senior people from the university and senior people from schools thinking through what kinds of programmes are appropriate. That means that it is a situation where you cannot necessarily say that all schools will want to engage, because they need to have the space, the capacity, the interest, the enthusiasm-all of those things.
If that happens, I think there is a good possibility of this working. If every school is expected to do it no matter what, it won’t work. I also think it will make it hugely difficult for universities to engage, for the reasons that James gave earlier, namely universities chasing after contracts will be spending their time on the wrong things. The right thing, it seems to me, is where there is engagement and a school says, "We want you to look at the teaching of science, of chemistry, and we would like to work with members of the university on that." That would be practical, drawing on the experience of higher education, and bringing it together.
Chair: Thank you very much. With such limited time, we need to try to keep our questions and answers nice and short.
Q201 Alex Cunningham: Do you agree with the Institute of Education that we should be training teachers for the system as a whole, not for specific schools? Will more school-based training have an effect on that? We were told earlier, before you came in, that as many as half of trained teachers are not teaching. How will the school/university-based system ensure we get the right teachers for the right subjects in the right places?
Dr Nunn: I just wanted to say something in relation to that, which in a way links up with the previous point. One of the things the university sector can offer is the ability to innovate-this notion of the right teachers in the right places. There is a risk if this was devolved wholesale to schools that you would only ever train teachers for the status quo. I can think of two specific examples over the last decade or so when there was a move to introduce citizenship and primary modern languages into schools, which did not exist. In that instance you need the university sector to be working closely in collaboration with schools and bringing a subject expertise to grow something from scratch. If schools only ever train for their immediate needs or for staffing shortages that they envisage in the here and now, you are only ever going to train schools for today and not for the system that we might need for tomorrow. So that is a particular issue there.
More broadly than that, there is a risk, and Bob has highlighted it, which is this notion of devolving initial teacher training across 23,000 schools. At the moment we have a system with 230 providers, of whom 75 are HEIs, and there is a hard-won system of accountability that has driven up quality, and that has been acknowledged in a number of different ways over time. Fragmenting the system could result in a very piecemeal approach to a very important element of national education policy. You won’t be able to rebuild that retrospectively, because once it’s gone, it’s gone. We have instances already of high-quality courses that have been closed down on the basis of the sort of bacon slicing that happens in terms of numbers. This has left some high-quality courses quite unsustainable in the current context.
Q202 Alex Cunningham: So the risk is much greater than perhaps Ministers think?
Dr Nunn: Yes, potentially. I believe so, yes.
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: One of the things you will have to bear in mind in talking about partnerships and all the other concepts we use is also resourcing in terms of how provision can be made that is sufficient in terms of critical mass. One of the things we are very aware of in the University of Leicester is what this costs in terms of each course, and indeed our calculations are that, in the world we move into in 2012, you would need a minimum of 10 students on any line for the university to break even on it. In terms of science provision, where we have a target of 45 students, we have to have 36 students on course. If it goes below 36, it is uneconomic in terms of the way the course is run.
Clearly we have to have an eye to that, because other departments in the university would say, "Why are you cross-subsidising?" if it got to a point where we would have to do that. I do think that sometimes in making the reductions the importance of critical mass in relation to the economics of provision is lost from view.
Q203 Chair: We talked about fragmentation. On the other hand might we not see a concentration of fewer, higher-quality, more assured HEIs? Aren’t there rather a lot at the moment, and some of them are pretty dubious on economics, viability and other issues? May we not see a consolidation at one level, HEIs, while a spreading of engagement at schools? That is the Government vision, isn’t it?
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: I think you are looking for high-quality provision, but it seems to me that we also need to take account of what the critical mass is that is required to drive these programmes. From that point of view, it is absolutely essential to make sure that the resource base is there when-making reductions in the numbers of students on course.
Q204 Neil Carmichael: So far we have been talking about training and so forth for teachers, and that is absolutely right because that is what the questions are about. But I have noticed two things. One is that the conversation has really been all about what we do to teachers, or what we do to people who want to become teachers. Nearly all the answers have broadly been focused on, universities do this, teacher training does that, and so on. Picking up Bob’s point before about the general position of teachers as a profession in this country compared with others, if you look at the Law Society, for example, as the monitor of lawyers, or if you wanted to be a barrister and said, "I intend to be a barrister," in both of those cases you need a degree first and foremost, but you need to do something else with them. Should we not be thinking about putting teachers in charge themselves in some way, so that they can effectively get control over their profession, so that they have more influence over how it develops and take effectively more responsibility for how they are admitted into the profession and trained?
Chair: Okay. I think the question is clear.
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: I have some direct experience of this, given the development of actuarial science degrees at Masters level, advanced training that is approved by the actuaries, where the actuaries have worked with members, in particular members of our maths department, to develop the programme. According to the reports that come from external examiners, the programme is seen to be strong and meeting the needs of the profession. That is not the profession operating in isolation from the university but the two coming together. That is the kind of model that we should be developing and building on in relation to teacher education. It is a situation where there have been good relationships between schools and schools of education, so it is possible.
Q205 Neil Carmichael: Is that desirable? Is that a direction of travel we should be going in?
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: I think we are already there in part. But just as you have raised the question, I think there are other professions where there are good examples, and it is an example where universities and the professionals work together to develop the curriculum that is offered.
Q206 Chair: What is standing in the way of that? Is it trade unions? They are all in the room-look behind you.
James Noble-Rogers: I would say that an independent, professional body would help to raise and enhance the status of teaching. I think there is a strong case for having a professional body, as there is for teachers in the further education sector, where the Institute for Learning performs a very strong role. As Bob said, a professional body not only enhances status but it can facilitate professional development carried out in partnership between universities and other providers in line with standards agreed by that professional body.
Chair: Thank you very much.
Q207 Neil Carmichael: Jacquie, do you…?
Dr Nunn: I just wanted to say that we spend a lot of time talking about Finland, but we only have to look north of the border to see the role that the General Teaching Council for Scotland, for example, plays there, where it has a much stronger role in terms of its relationship with the universities and its status around developing standards for teachers and so on. That is quite different from what we have in England.
Neil Carmichael: That is a slightly different structure. We did go to Finland, and I did pick that point up there, so I think it is something we need to look at. This Committee will be thinking about this idea of a professional umbrella.
Q208 Craig Whittaker: Bob, you spoke about the need for a minimum of 10 students on a course, and you spoke about 35 or 36 on the science courses. How dependent are university education departments on income from teacher training?
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: They are highly dependent in order to employ those people who work on the PGCE.
Q209 Craig Whittaker: But that is not quite the question.
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: Just let me finish. They are highly dependent on the PGCE route, but as CPD is also cut, they are also highly dependent on that stream of income. The other stream would be the money that comes from educational research. Usually in schools of education you have groups of people who work with PGCE students, a group of people who are working on CPD and postgraduate programmes generally, and a group of people working on educational research who also have mixed economy across those streams. There is not just one sum of money, as happens with the physics department, where money comes for teaching and money comes for research.
Q210 Craig Whittaker: Let me rephrase the question then. How dependent on the training to do other things are the universities’ education departments?
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: The universities are not making vast amounts of money. Our calculation is that, with respect to the secondary PGCE this year, Leicester is making 4%, which is what is advised that any higher education institution should make, and indeed the governing body of the university would say that is the target the university should search for.
Q211 Craig Whittaker: So in general they are not reliant at all.
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: Well, you not only have to invest in the teaching staff but there are libraries to invest in; there are buildings to invest in; there is the IT system.
Q212 Craig Whittaker: I understand all that, but the question was: how reliant on these teacher training programmes are the education departments?
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: Well, they are for the groups of people who directly teach on the programmes. There is no other pot of money that is going to suddenly appear.
Q213 Craig Whittaker: So it does not fund anything else apart from those courses, it makes very little money and the universities do not rely on that as a source of income.
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: Not in terms of producing extra money that can be ploughed into other activity. The resources that go into a School of Education are very much earned by the School of Education.
Q214 Craig Whittaker: Okay, thank you. Can I ask you all then to give us your views on whether you have any concerns on the Government’s new bursary scheme? Can I specifically ask you about the likely impact on the different stages-primary, secondary, and of course colleges-and the likely impact on particular subjects, priority and non-priority, and the assumption that all university undergraduate courses are equal in rigour? The other thing we have heard on this panel is that a 2:1 in one university is not particularly the same rigorous standard as a 2:1 in another university. I wonder if you would like to comment.
Chair: A very long, complex question. I would ask you for astonishingly succinct answers.
James Noble-Rogers: I think the Government and the TDA and others need to keep a very close eye on applications in the light of the new bursaries. The higher ones to attract in better-qualified people are very welcome, and it is very good that public funding indirectly for PGCEs is continuing. But I am worried that there will be very few bursaries for people with 2:2 degrees and for people going into non-priority secondary subjects and into primary. I think we have to keep a close eye. We don’t want to create teacher supply problems where we have not experienced them before.
Q215 Chair: And is there a genuine risk of that? Is that your evidence?
James Noble-Rogers: We don’t have the evidence for it at the moment. Applications at the moment have been tailing off-they are down, as I understand it-but this is an atypical year because some people trained a year earlier to beat the fees. But it needs looking at and monitoring very carefully.
Dr Nunn: Can I say something about degree background and this idea about the relative merit of different degrees? I am not going to go into that, but all I am going to say is that, for those involved in initial teacher education and training, whether they are in a university or a school, the degree is just a starting point and you cannot rely on the degree. You have to audit that subject knowledge. It is perfectly possible for somebody to have a degree in English who has never read Romeo and Juliet. It is perfectly possible for someone with a degree in Ancient History not to have studied the Second World War.
The job and the task of teacher education is to look at the subject knowledge wherever it is acquired-sometimes it has been acquired in the context of work experience subsequent to the degree-and then to work out what it is that needs to be done to make sure that person, by the time they complete their training, has the right degree of curriculum knowledge that they will need to deliver the subject in school. That is what the task is about and why HEI has a strength, and why sometimes, if we look at the relative quality issue, school-based training falls a little short, and that is because there is a stronger focus on general professional issues rather than the solid foundation of subject knowledge.
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: I think that introducing bursaries is clearly an advantage. I think it is interesting in terms of the bursary system that is being made available for physics, because it is very important that students are able to say that they have been taught by someone who holds a degree in that subject. I think it is a model that we would want to see replicated elsewhere to attract the very best students.
I also think that bursaries are essential, bearing in mind widening participation. We want a profession where people are drawn from different walks of life and who have different kinds of school experience, but are of very high quality. Bursaries would assist that in the sense that students who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds will want to ensure that they can develop and train as a professional, in this case, in teaching.
Q216 Craig Whittaker: Thank you. James, you said earlier that you agreed with the Government that there was a distinction between degree class and ability as a teacher; I think that is what you said.
James Noble-Rogers: I think, on average, the higher qualified people you have going into teaching, the better quality the teaching force will be. But I am not going to say that, for any one individual, someone with a 2:2 is not going to be as good a teacher as someone with a 2:1.
Q217 Craig Whittaker: Can I therefore say to you that you are probably the only person we have had in front of us so far that has agreed that is the case.
James Noble-Rogers: I think Michael Day agreed.
Q218 Craig Whittaker: Okay, Michael Day. How then, on that basis, do you select teachers? We have just heard from Jacquie about using the degree as a basis to go forward. But how do you physically select teachers to know that they are going to be the best? Because that is clearly what this policy is aimed at doing.
James Noble-Rogers: Jacquie will be better placed to answer, but I would say degree classification is important. The subject of the degree and the subject knowledge embedded in that degree is important, but also it is acknowledged in the implementation plan that interpersonal skills and noncognitive skills are also extremely important. So it is finding a way to bring all those together, and universities are very experienced in doing that, but also schools have to play their part as well.
Dr Nunn: We can also learn from looking across. We are looking closely at what Teach First are doing, because they have cohorts coming in and put them through their assessment centres. That is not to say that universities don’t do that; it is partly to do with the way in which they come through the system-they tend to drip-feed through sometimes, so that you have only one or two for a session. Things like that we can learn from, and we can look across. You have heard a lot of evidence, which we won’t rehearse again, about the qualities beyond the raw academic issue that need to be looked at. There is undoubtedly a consensus. Kevin Mattinson talked, I think, about the intellectual capacity, and that needs to be in there strongly if we are to have a strong teaching profession.
Q219 Craig Whittaker: Let me just ask you finally then, what impact do you consider the raised tuition fees will have on PGCE and undergraduate training applications? Bob, do you want to start?
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: At the moment we can only go on the national trends that are occurring. I think I am right in saying that this week the UCAS figures over all disciplines are something like 15% down. The question we have to ask is, what will they look like when we get to 15 January and what actually do the subject pools then look like? At the moment there is no means of comparing. In my university we are monitoring week by week, so I can say that on Monday it was reported Leicester was 12% down on all subjects compared with the national trend of 15%. One needs to keep it under constant review, and that is what I would expect to happen with regard to undergraduate teacher education.
Q220 Craig Whittaker: Anything you would like to add?
Dr Nunn: All I would add is that one of the disappointments of the strategy is that it has built in considerable confusion for potential teachers. I think that rather than being what might be a fairly simple choice between an HEI-led partnership route or a school-led partnership route, we have a proliferation of routes, consequences of different funding for those different routes, and I think that one of the problems of that is there is a risk people will be led by financial matters to making decisions about what is the most appropriate route, rather than looking at the professional basis of the training that they are going to receive. I think that is potentially damaging for the profession and could lead to losing some good potential teachers along the way.
Q221 Charlotte Leslie: Very briefly, because I know we are short on time, I just want to ask you about the merits or otherwise, as you saw it, of the plans in the implementation plan for a central admissions system.
Professor Sir Robert Burgess: I should preface this by saying that until July I have been Chair of UCAS for six years, so you probably can guess the direction in which I am going to go. If you look at what UCAS has managed to achieve with the rest of the system, it just is more efficient, it is more cost-effective, it has great potential. Clearly, as I understand it-I don’t have privileged information any longer on this-UCAS will be involved in a consultation exercise with the sector early in the new year with regard to the use of one portal. It seems to me it has huge potential in bringing efficiencies, in making it simpler for applicants, in being able to manage the testing programme, and the possibility of co-ordinating interviews on a national basis. All of those things seem to me to be tried and tested because most of it has been achieved with regard to the general UCAS system, which is held in very high regard nationally and internationally. So it is an absolute open and shut case as far as I am concerned due to the proven ability of UCAS as a body to handle large volumes of applications.
Q222 Charlotte Leslie: Jacquie?
Dr Nunn: I think that whatever is put in place needs to be kept lean and efficient. If it is seen as an extra layer of bureaucracy, that would be unfortunate. It needs to respond to particular vagaries of the application system. For some reason mathematicians and scientists tend to apply late, often in August, and the course starts a week later in September, so it would need to have the flexibility to deal with that kind of circumstance.
Chair: So disorganised scientists are not a myth.
James Noble-Rogers: It should be possible to overcome, but we will have to look also at the mechanics of the schools’ direct proposals and how they link into a single application system. But in principle it is to be supported.
Chair: Thank you all very much for giving evidence to us this morning.
Examination of Witnesses
Witnesses: Christine Blower, General Secretary, NUT, Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary, ATL, Chris Keates, General Secretary, NASUWT, and Malcolm Trobe, Deputy General Secretary (Policy), ASCL, gave evidence.
Q223 Chair: Good morning, and thank you all very much for coming along and giving evidence to us today. Do you think the teaching unions are adding to the attraction and status of the profession?
Chris Keates: Yes.
Q224 Chair: Mary?
Dr Bousted: Yes, I think we are. Let’s just take my union, ATL. We have 4,000 members in conjunction with Edge Hill University on Masters courses as a direct result of a partnership. All the unions run CPD programmes, which are booked up as soon as we advertise them. The pamphlets go out in September and our courses are booked up completely by halfway through September. ATL has a Union Learning programme; we have over 120 Union Learning representatives who are brokering CPD opportunities for teachers and support staff throughout the country. Often it is unions that provide the CPD that teachers really want. I think 4,000 members on the Masters courses is a magnificent achievement.
If the question is whether we talk up the profession, I think there are two parts to that answer. Yes, we certainly talk up the professionalism of teachers. Where I think your question might be heading is: do we point out the problems? The problems are usually pointed out because we feel that policies will detract from the very professional job that teachers do, and so you need to have a dual role in that regard.
Chris Keates: My view is that, yes, we do. We actually enhance the profession, not just by professional development courses that all of the unions provide but also from the point of view that we campaign for the things that we believe aid recruitment and retention of good teachers-things like professional levels of pay and working conditions that help teachers to raise standards-and we campaign for the professional autonomy of the classroom teacher, and focus on that being the critical role in terms of raising standards for all our children and young people.
Q225 Neil Carmichael: Could you all give me a rough description of what you think the difference is between a trade union and a professional body?
Christine Blower: One of our presidents, some considerable time ago, wrote his doctoral thesis on "The National Union of Teachers-professional association or trade union"; is there a problem? He concluded that there was not. The fact is that we all have aspects of the work that we do that we could consider to be the professional association aspects of them, and the National Union of Teachers has a large number of our members on Masters programmes in Cumbria, for example. We have a very well-respected and externally moderated CPD programme, as do other unions.
We also militate on behalf of the young people whom we teach. We think that is the proper role of the professional association, but it is also a proper role of the trade union aspect of what we do. I agree entirely with Sir Peter Lampl’s evidence to you that one of the things you have to do is make sure that there are proper levels of professional pay for teachers, and that indeed the current situation with pensions will not make teaching any more attractive. So he is doing the job of the trade unions as well for us on our behalf. I think there is a dichotomy in the sense that there are two sides to the work that we do, but there is not a tension that is dangerous or difficult.
Malcolm Trobe: I think as a trade union we look after and promote the interests of our individual members, and we are there actively to support them. But we are also there in terms of a professional association to promote the profession and in many ways to seek to influence policy and Government policy. So we are promoting education, and we are looking really to essentially enable our members to best perform their role.
Chair: Neil, I don’t want to go for four answers on every question.
Neil Carmichael: Okay, fair enough.
Chair: Have you another question?
Q226 Neil Carmichael: Do you think there should be a professional body, as we were discussing in the last session?
Chair: I think Christine has said no, effectively.
Christine Blower: The National Union of Teachers has had a policy that there should be a General Teachers Council modelled on the Scottish General Teachers Council since 1973. We were not entirely happy with the General Teaching Council, which is about to go, although we thought there were very good things about it, and it could have been made an extremely good professional body-so yes, we are in favour of a professional body.
Dr Bousted: And we are as well.
Chris Keates: We are in a favour of a robust regulatory body because we think that that actually enhances the professional status of the profession. We have always campaigned for something equivalent to things like the General Medical Council, because we think that there is an issue of having public trust and confidence in the profession. So our problem with the General Teaching Council was that for us it did not focus enough on its regulatory function. It spread far too wide into a range of other issues.
The other major problem with it was that, unlike the General Teaching Council in Scotland, it did not regulate entry into the profession. It had no role in that whatsoever. It was divided between the General Teaching Council and the TDA. We felt that that was always something that undermined the position of the General Teaching Council.
We are deeply unhappy with the regulatory function that the Education Act has brought into place, because we don’t think that will do anything to enhance the status of the teaching profession, particularly the discretion that is left to employers as to whether they refer people to the Secretary of State, for example when they have been dismissed. So there isn’t that guaranteed national regulatory function either from the point of view of the teacher being able to make their case, or the point of view of public interest, so we are quite concerned about the vacuum that is in place at the moment.
Q227 Chair: It may sound ironic to some to hear you talking about raising the status of the profession. Do you think work-to-rule is a way of raising the status of the profession?
Chris Keates: I think a work to contract, which is what NASUWT is involved with at the moment-which is a contract that was brought in under the last Government about enabling teachers to work more effectively to raise standards-is exactly the thing that is needed in schools, and will raise the status of the profession.
Q228 Chair: Encouraging people not to do other things outside of-
Chris Keates: We want our members teaching children, not standing at photocopiers. We want our members focusing on teaching and learning. I don’t know where this is that we are telling people that they shouldn’t do anything outside. Certainly the Daily Telegraph appears to believe that we are telling them that, but you don’t believe everything you read.
Q229 Chair: You are cancelling Christmas.
Chris Keates: Cancelling Christmas. No, we are not cancelling Christmas. And I have to say, with my love of Christmas, I would be the last General Secretary that would do that.
Chair: We would not want Chris Keates characterised as a Grinch before this Committee. Can I turn to Ian, please?
Q230 Ian Mearns: Ebenezer Mearns, that’s right, yes. What do you believe are the particular strengths and weaknesses of current Government policy with regard to teacher training and supply? That is an open question for you, there you go.
Dr Bousted: There is obviously a bit of a problem. I am a bit more concerned about the decline in applications to ITT than the previous panel. I do think a 13% or 14% decline is an issue. Part of the problem is that, because you have to recruit so many teachers every year, a teacher shortage can turn into a recruitment crisis very quickly. We spent much of the 1990s recovering from a teacher recruitment crisis, and getting good levels of applications. Undoubtedly, that fed through into a higher quality of applicants.
Before I became General Secretary of ATL, I was in initial teacher training through the early 1990s to 2003. During that time I saw the quality of applicants rise as the competition for places increased, as teaching became a more highly sought after profession. It seems to me, and my experience is, that things can go wrong very quickly simply because of the number of teachers you need each year simply to replace those who have retired and those who for other reasons leave the profession. There is an issue about retention in the profession, but I think that can be overstated. There are lots of professions where the retention rates are comparable. People do change their minds.
Q231 Ian Mearns: But you are not going to have that problem, because everybody is going to work until they are 68.
Dr Bousted: Yes, teaching in your Zimmer frame-it’s not good. I do think there is an issue. And-sorry, what was your question?
Q232 Ian Mearns: What are the particular strengths or weaknesses of current Government policy with regard to teacher training and retention?
Dr Bousted: Well I will just stay with ITT. I do think the delay in giving the TDA permission to advertise has been a problem, because that has certainly not been good. I do think that as soon as you move to a bursary system, which means that what you are going to get is much more complicated, when you combine that with most prospective teachers now leaving university with debts of over £20,000, and the question then of whether you are going to do teacher training when you are going to have to be paying the PGCE fee, and most universities are charging £7,000, and that combined with another 310,000 public sector jobs on top of 400,000 going as a result of the Autumn Statement, suddenly you are already in a lot of debt. Are you going to be able to afford to train, and will you get a job? You cannot divorce applications to teacher training from the wider economic situation that the country faces.
Q233 Chair: Sorry, can I understand your point about bursaries? I mean, there are issues about debt and higher tuition fees, and the incentive to get a first-class degree in physics and get your £20,000 is quite high, isn’t it? And that’s a good thing, isn’t it?
Dr Bousted: Yes, it is high, but the applications for maths and things are down. I am not sure you have as many people with first-class degrees in physics wanting to go into teaching as wanting to go into research. I think for long-term career prospects, it is quite a hard call. I do think you have to be realistic about this. We cannot be romantic about teacher supply.
Christine Blower: We do differ from the Secretary of State’s view about teaching as a craft, and it is best learned by being Velcroed next to somebody who seems to be doing it rather well. It is interesting that, if you look at the international evidence, clearly Finland and Korea-and the current Secretary of State is very keen on talking about Korea-still have higher education institution-based entry to teacher training. So it is quite important really when you are looking at the variety of other things that the current Government is keen on.
There are costs to different ways of training teachers. According to the House of Commons, the minutes of evidence given on the Schools White Paper, Teach First costs £38,500, £25,000 for other employment-based routes, and £12,500 for a PGCE. We do need to train a lot of teachers, so we do need to give serious consideration to the cost of training teachers as well as the other aspect, which Mary pointed out, which is that teachers themselves will be coming into the profession with an enormous amount of debt. We do need to think about the amount of resource we put into training both as the individuals, in terms of the debt they accrue, and also how much of the Exchequer goes into these different types of systems, and how we monitor how well those perform.
Q234 Chair: And the strengths of Government policy, Chris?
Chris Keates: Well that would be very difficult for me to identify, particularly in this area. There may be some merit in looking at the teaching schools if they are properly resourced and there is a proper partnership and there is commitment, and working with HEI in the way we heard from the previous evidence. I don’t know whether, in its evidence, the panel is taking into account this report of the International Summit on the Teaching Profession, the first ever one that was held, in 2011. By the way, the UK was there in the top 20 performing countries in education across the world. What is interesting about this is the amount of emphasis in all of the countries on initial teacher training. I think the nettle that the Government has failed to grasp is the experience and the variable experience of people in their induction year.
That experience is becoming worse with the increased fragmentation of the system. People are not getting their entitlements in terms of supported development. The point earlier in the previous evidence session, that trainees are looking for more school-based practice: they are, but they want supported practice, and what we are finding are a lot of casualties of people who could make excellent teachers who are basically being placed as though they are qualified teachers. They are not having a stable placement for their first year. For example, many of our newly trained teachers are going on to supply work.
We think it would be a good idea for the whole of that area to be looked at, particularly to look at adopting the Scottish model, which makes sure that in the first year-that is completion of qualified teacher status-everybody has a guaranteed placement. That way people start with an even platform and are able to get a quality experience. They do not get used on a termly basis or two terms and then have to find some other placement. It is actually better value for money for public money as well when people have had that training to make sure that they can complete that induction year. We think that is a nettle the Government has yet to grasp in terms of giving that quality induction to the profession.
Q235 Tessa Munt: I am aware of this particularly, because a number of people have written to me from my constituency about the fact that, in the Scottish system, it is the system that finds the placement.
Chris Keates: Absolutely.
Q236 Tessa Munt: So is your recommendation, therefore-I don’t want to put words into your mouth-that the Government should ensure that whatever training you undertake, part of that training, the job of the trainer, is to make sure you have a placement? Because there are people who are time-expiring.
Chris Keates: Absolutely, yes.
Q237 Tessa Munt: Because of shortage of placements, they cannot qualify properly.
Chris Keates: That is absolutely right. It is a vast waste of resource, yes. We would like to see that system replicated where there is a system in which people get their placements and they are guaranteed that placement. They are not guaranteed a job at the end of it, but they are guaranteed the placement to do a quality induction year.
Q238 Ian Mearns: You mentioned the proposed bursary scheme and it has come up a couple of times. Will the proposed bursary scheme have a positive impact in attracting the best trainees, or could it potentially deter less academic applicants?
Dr Bousted: I think the jury is out really. On the best qualified, my experience is that the degree classification does give some indication-of course it does, because it is a measure of how well you performed in your degree. It is often also not just a measure of your academic ability but your application, and application is very important for teaching because one of the most important things about teaching is turning up every day and being in front of that class. As to whether it will deter less academic applicants who have other skills and abilities that would make them good teachers, again, I think the jury is out. But there is the possibility that this might happen.
But I think what is even more damaging is the delay in deciding which model of ITT would be adopted-the ITT proposals came out very late-and the delay in advertising teaching. We are just seeing now the adverts from the TDA, particularly for maths, where there has been a sharp decline in maths applications. That is puzzling, because the bursaries are there for maths and science, and we are still seeing a decline. Whether that comes through at the end, we don’t know, and I do think the jury is out. But I would emphasise what James Noble-Rogers said previously, which is that this requires very careful looking at, because I do worry that we could sleepwalk into another teacher recruitment crisis. It does not take much.
Q239 Ian Mearns: And you are nodding vigorously, Malcolm?
Malcolm Trobe: Yes, we are in agreement with that. We are concerned about it. We think there is a significant element of risk there in that we are not going to recruit appropriate numbers of people. There is also the fact that bursaries are there for some subjects but not for other subjects, where in reality we want to recruit the highest quality of teachers across the range of subjects. Yes, maths and science are a priority, but we also want good quality English, history and geography teachers.
Q240 Damian Hinds: But you do get bursaries for those subjects, don’t they?
Pat Glass: No, they don’t.
Pat Glass: No, it is English, maths, science and languages.
Chair: We are going to maintain a disciplined situation of questions directly to the panel.
Damian Hinds: Is that right? So you do get bursaries for those subjects?
Chair: There are lower level bursaries, but there are bursaries for those subjects; is that your understanding or not?
Damian Hinds: Well you don’t get them with citizenship, leisure and tourism, and health and beauty and so on, as I understand it. Can people show their hands; is this right or wrong?
Malcolm Trobe: It is right-£9,000 and £5,000, so they are reduced bursaries. They have been significantly reduced, and it will be lower than the cost of the fees.
Q241 Tessa Munt: Can I clarify something? My understanding is that in, I think, probably the year we are sitting in now there has been a complete cut of the bursary for people who might have been training and expecting to get a bursary. There were some who were then told that they were not going to be able to get their bursary, but it is coming back in, in 2012. If the Government is going to continue to change the criteria and the subjects, there are people who might go into their degree subject in maths-well that is a bad example, but some other subject that we suddenly find we need, and then the bursary arrangements will have changed by the time they qualify. So mature people coming into doing a second degree or a later degree or something anticipating that they might become a subject teacher will then have depended on bursary funding that they assume will be available that may then not be available. How do we iron out that difficulty? How far ahead do we need to plan? Clearly that is going to need a four-year planning to work out which subjects are at crisis. Can we do that?
Chair: Who would like to take that question?
Tessa Munt: Sorry, it’s a very extended question.
Dr Bousted: The TDA and the Department do do planning, and the planning for the subject places that they need in secondary then feeds into the figures given to HEIs and other training groups. I don’t know how well it works. It is not an exact science, but it is done. I think generally, though, in answer to your question, the more you fiddle about with bursaries-the more complicated you make it-the more people don’t understand. That gets particularly important when they are already in a lot of debt. Now the bursaries is one thing. The next issue then, and I think this is a clear issue, is getting a job. "If I do this extra year and I am paying another £9,000 to train, and I have my living expenses on top of that, am I going to get a job?"
When you have got lots of newly qualified teachers searching for jobs still, with these huge debts that have be added to and will be added to, then that is going to be a real problem. That will become even worse in three years’ time, when of course the debt-and however people dress this up, I call it a debt-will be much worse. You will be getting people leaving universities with much higher levels of debt as a result of the higher tuition fees in their degrees, and then the decision about whether you do another £9,000, or whatever it is by then, and will you get a job. If we have got austerity measures going through until 2017, the decisions people have to make are very high stakes. My view is the more complicated you make it-the more you say, "It is for these subjects and not for these subjects," or "For this phase and not for this phase"-the very issue you are talking about is, "Well, if I train in this subject, will it still be there in three years’ time?"
Q242 Tessa Munt: So can I ask you to write to the Chair with that information, or how one might actually try to iron that out.
Dr Bousted: Certainly.
Chair: Thank you very much.
Chris Keates: Can I just add to that, though? It is not just about the recruitment into the courses. You have to look at the system as a whole. It is very complex, because if you get an increased autonomy in the system, particularly over the whole issue of the curriculum, then obviously it is not going to be as easy to predict supply if you have not, for example, got a core national curriculum that you know you have to staff, and schools will have to staff that. If you have actually got the impact of EBac, curriculum freedoms and so on, the prediction of what is needed in the system becomes even more complicated, and I think that has to be borne in mind.
Q243 Craig Whittaker: Chris, you said with some considerable pride, talking about the conference you attended earlier on in the year, that the UK is listed in the top 20 internationally. Surely if we were in the top five, you would be able to say it with much more pride.
Chris Keates: I talk with pride. I do talk up the education system in this country. I think we have a lot to be proud of.
Q244 Craig Whittaker: If you compare it to top five? I mean it seems that we are sliding down the system, I think.
Chris Keates: The thing is, where do you draw the cut-off? These were the top 20 countries, and countries that the Government has been drawing on for its policy, such as Sweden and the USA, did not even make the top 20. So I think we did really well to be in that top 20. I also think that you have to look at the different circumstances of what our education system provides. We take all comers into state education. We have massive diversity of people coming in, and I think the education system does a magnificent job. I think everybody can do better. We are not complacent. We think there is a lot more that can be done, but I think we should have pride in our system, and there is too much talking down of our system than talking it up.
Q245 Craig Whittaker: No complacency in the top 20 then.
Chris Keates: No complacency, no.
Q246 Craig Whittaker: So striving towards the top five?
Chris Keates: Striving always to be the best, yes.
Q247 Craig Whittaker: Okay. Can I just ask you then about the NASUWT submission? It says that the broad policy agenda of the Government will undermine work to ensure that a high-quality teaching workforce can continue to be recruited and retained. Can you develop that for us and provide specific examples of policy, aside from those directly related to teacher supply and training, that you think will have a negative impact on that landscape?
Chris Keates: There are a whole range of policies, and we are basing that assertion on the fact that we have done considerable research amongst teachers, and we can provide the full details of the research to the Committee if they feel that would be helpful. We did what was called the Big Question, where we asked a whole series of questions about job satisfaction, Government policy-a whole range of things that teachers felt they wanted and needed that would help them to improve their professionalism. The outcome of that was 83% of teachers saying they felt they were professionally disempowered by the accountability system that has been put in place. Teachers are reporting now they are spending more time focusing on the inspection system than they are actually focusing on teaching.
Q248 Craig Whittaker: Is that even under the new framework?
Chris Keates: That is even under the new framework. Obviously that framework has to bed down, but that is even under the new framework. Teachers feel that they are basically engaged most of the time in a paper chase to satisfy inspection rather than in producing material that is necessary to support teaching and learning.
Q249 Craig Whittaker: Just on that point then, are you therefore saying it has always been like that or it is getting worse?
Chris Keates: It is getting worse from the evidence we have. We can only take the evidence and compare it with the situation as it was in the early 1990s, where there was a massive teacher recruitment and retention crisis. There was low morale and teaching was falling down to the bottom of the career choices for graduates.
Q250 Craig Whittaker: Why don’t we compare it with five years ago?
Chris Keates: In 2010 teaching was back at the top career choice for graduates. Also, in terms of the job satisfaction surveys-independent ones that we have been doing-job satisfaction was improving for teachers. Other than some of the subject hotspots, which is a perennial problem for all Governments, the recruitment and retention crisis that had been there the previous decade had actually diminished. Now we are back into a situation where over half of teachers have considered quitting the profession in the past 12 months. They feel demoralised by the curriculum changes, for example, the EBac. And your own Committee has done a report about the impact of the EBac, and certainly, if you are a teacher in a non-EBac subject, to see your curriculum time reduced, or that 15% of RE teachers have been made redundant, all has that particular impact.
So those are all of, if you like, the context of Government policy, as well as the increasing autonomy for schools. You see, we support Michael Gove when he says that he wants increased autonomy for the classroom teacher. But unfortunately the policies are giving increased autonomy for schools, and particularly head teachers, not for the teacher in the classroom. The experience of the teacher in the classroom is that they are being told what to teach, when to teach, and how to teach. Their professional autonomy and judgment is not being respected, and they feel disempowered in that context. So we feel that the balance has been lost between autonomy for a school as opposed to autonomy for a classroom teacher, and that is having its impact on job satisfaction.
Q251 Craig Whittaker: Does anybody feel differently to that?
Christine Blower: Just on the autonomy point, at the meeting at the summit in New York, where the teachers’ unions were represented alongside the Secretary of State, all round the room, from both teachers’ unions and from senior politicians from all of the countries, there was an agreement that autonomy was a good thing. There was not a common agreement on what autonomy means, and the extent to which, I am sure all the teachers’ unions would agree, what is important is that people have a sense of their own professionalism and their professional autonomy, they can deploy the pedagogical skills, and they can come at the work that they are doing in a proper and professional fashion.
But if what we are talking about is autonomy, i.e. fragmentation of the system because each individual school becomes a freestanding school, then we don’t think that is a good thing. Certainly, from the National Union of Teachers’ perspective, we would agree that the persistent paper chase, even with the new Ofsted framework, is a problem. Even it were not demoralising for teachers, the fact is it takes time that otherwise should be used on the proper job of preparing, planning and teaching lessons and then doing the assessment of the work that you have done in the lesson. So that is the difficulty; it does not help in a positive sense, and it has potentially a negative impact on classroom practice.
Q252 Craig Whittaker: Just so we are very clear, because we have seen a different framework start to be introduced through Ofsted, is that better or worse than what we have currently? Because you talk about the time it takes to prepare and how it takes the teacher away from being autonomous on the frontline. Are you therefore saying as a union that the new system from Ofsted is worse and more bureaucratic than the last?
Christine Blower: One of the difficulties about the Ofsted framework, whichever framework-and it will be true of the new framework that has come in-is that it is the fear and the oppressive nature of the accountability measure that creates the difficultly. So if it were that what we were saying is there is a proper professional system of inspection, where there is a partnership approach to the fact that what we want is for all schools to continue to do extremely well where they are doing very well, and if there are some areas for development we want those to be able to be developed, no one would have a problem with that. That would be a proper system of inspection, because notwithstanding what we say about teachers probably needing to be paid more and so on, we recognise that a good deal of public money is spent on education. So no one would say that there is not a role for making sure that is being done properly.
The difficulty is that it is there; it is the heavy-handed nature of that, and, as we know, and I am sure Malcolm will agree, head teachers are in the frame if they do not get outstanding and so on.
Q253 Craig Whittaker: So, with all due respect, is the new system going to be better or worse than the one we have? That is the bit I don’t understand.
Dr Bousted: It is about how it is implemented.
Chris Keates: And perceptions.
Dr Bousted: Yes, it is about how it is implemented. Certainly the focus on fewer cells has the potential to focus attention on what is important, and there is a greater emphasis on teaching and learning.
Q254 Chair: Surely that is better and you welcome it?
Dr Bousted: It may be better. It is how it is assessed. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
I would just like to say one thing about autonomy, though. I agree with what both Christine and Chris have said, but one of the things the Committee should be really aware of is that we absolutely agree the balance between autonomy for schools and autonomy for teachers is not right. But in the big chains of academies now, there is every danger that the autonomy for schools is not right, because the chains are going in and they are taking 5% to 7% typically off the school’s budget for running it. In order to make that effective and efficient, what they are doing is saying, "This is your curriculum policy; this is your assessment policy," and it is very much teaching by numbers according to what has been brought in by the chain. That does need to be looked at. I would commend the Committee to look at that.
Q255 Craig Whittaker: That is a very different discussion to what we are having today, because there are a lot of people who would argue that local authorities do not do that well anyway. So let me just ask Malcolm.
Malcolm Trobe: I think one of the things we would say is: as school leaders, we know quite clearly what our job is. Our job is to promote achievement for the young people that are in there, and it is essentially to raise standards. So our key driver should be focused on teaching and learning. We are also aware that you distribute the leadership down to your teachers to be able to do that, because if the teachers are in the classroom, they are the ones who are actually leading on teaching and learning. So it is very important we retain that focus, so in some ways I am disagreeing-I am disagreeing with you, Chris.
Q256 Chair: Your members are all getting lots of autonomy, and then you get to boss around the teachers and cramp their style.
Malcolm Trobe: One of the things we are aiming to do is lead on teaching and learning, and the key focus of a head teacher and members of the leadership team is actually to lead on teaching and learning and to enable others. So that is the key thing that you are actually promoting within the school, and you are providing that through a professional development programme, you are insuring that teachers’ subject knowledge is up to speed-you are working very, very much on the professional development of staff. So we do see it differently, because we see that as a key role of headship.
Chris Keates: Well, what is missed out there, Chair, is the fact that a head teacher’s key role should be to be a lead practitioner, and not administering the system, which is basically tick-boxing the monitoring, tick-boxing where the lesson plans have been done, tick-boxing on targets. It is about leading by example as lead practitioner. What lots of teachers tell us is that they feel too often they are being led and managed by people who have lost touch with the day-to-day realities of the classroom.
Q257 Chair: I am struggling to understand how this much leaner framework for Ofsted, focusing on four key areas-actually a reduction in the number of inspections and exemption from inspection for large numbers of schools as long as they doing are well-is somehow a massive increase in spot monitoring and bureaucratic imposition on teachers. It does not make any sense at all. Are you just incapable of saying anything nice about the Government?
Malcolm Trobe: You have gone down to four areas, but basically you encompass the previous 27 within the four.
Chris Keates: Yes, they are all in the same form.
Malcolm Trobe: You are reporting on four, which is leading to one, but actually you have 26 of the 27 existing areas.
Chris Keates: Still in there, just four.
Malcolm Trobe: Plus another two that have now shot in there. You are just reporting on four.
Chris Keates: But can I say one of the best ways of looking at this is for Ofsted to be focusing on outcomes not process, and also for Ofsted to be quite clear in its expectations of schools.
Chair: I cannot see on the facts that we have that it can be getting worse.
Q258 Pat Glass: Are you actually saying that, in these chains of academies, teachers’ lesson plans are by rote? Teachers are being handed lesson plans?
Dr Bousted: In some of them, yes-and your curriculum policy and your personnel policies.
Q259 Chair: Which ones?
Dr Bousted: I could not possibly say.
Q260 Pat Glass: Can you tell us who they are, because that simply does not add up to good teaching training?
Dr Bousted: Yes, we can certainly write you a letter, yes.
Q261 Damian Hinds: Is this unique to chains of academies, just to be absolutely clear? Are you saying there is no teaching by rote and there is no handing out of standardised personnel policies in local authority schools?
Dr Bousted: There would be less of it, because the relationship between the local authority and the school is different from an academy chain. There are lots of things going on in academy chains that I think this Committee would be very interested in.
Chris Keates: I would say there is some of it but there is less of it. In the academy chains, the emerging concerns we have are about what the Government said it was trying to get away from, and that is a standardisation across the board of behaviour policies, of teaching and learning policies, of lesson planning and so on. So you look at a chain like EACT for example, and look at how they standardise across the board in things. So it is not the freedom within that. But I mean it is not a debate about academies or whether it is community schools or foundation schools. For us, the debate is about how we empower the professionals in the classroom, which is the Government’s stated aim of its policy. How do we do that? In practice, that is not happening.
Q262 Chair: And the evidence you would give for that is your…?
Chris Keates: The evidence I would give for that is our surveys, but I would also invite the Committee to just go into any primary school, for example, and ask teachers to show you their lesson planning. Invariably they will bring you out a huge bureaucratic pile of lesson planning. Ask them then to show you what they use to support their teaching and learning in their lesson, and they will probably pull out a couple of sheets from that pile they have. That is the problem we are dealing with: if it is not written down, people do not believe it is happening, and that disempowers professionals.
Chair: Thank you.
Q263 Craig Whittaker: The final cat among the pigeons for me is: free schools policy of not needing to have a qualified QTS, love it or hate it?
Malcolm Trobe: We are not in favour of that. We believe that qualified teacher status is the way in which we expect all teachers in secondary schools to have QTLS, as will be appropriate to move in for certain subject areas, and we are quite clear on that. We would not want to see complete freedom of whoever teaches in a free school. There are cases when you would use unqualified teachers, as we do in maintained schools at the moment, but that would be relatively limited.
Chris Keates: From our point of view, we believe that qualified teacher status is part of the contract with the public and parents-that parents and the public have a right to expect that teachers are operating within a national framework of standards, nationally regulated, and therefore we are against removing that qualified teacher status, because we believe that undermines parents’ and public confidence in the system.
Q264 Chair: No need to go on at length, but I assume both of you-
Dr Bousted: Yes, I would just like to add to what Chris has said. Free schools are not free. They are funded in the same way. In law they are academies.
Q265 Craig Whittaker: So like maintained schools, like local authority schools-none of them are free.
Dr Bousted: None of them are free. It is a complete misnomer. And children have rights beyond that which their parents deem for them. I believe that they have a right to a broad and balanced curriculum. We do not believe that there should be some schools that can go away from the national curriculum and others that do not. We believe that children have rights more than that, and they have a right to be taught by qualified teachers.
Q266 Craig Whittaker: So one size fits all?
Chris Keates: It is not one size fits all.
Dr Bousted: It is not like that, is it? We have a diversity of routes into teacher training. We have a diversity of schools. But there is a bottom guarantee.
Chris Keates: It is frameworks and benchmarks. It is not about one size fits all; it is about your bottom-line guarantee to parents and the public, and we actually think QTS is one of those bottom-line guarantees.
Q267 Chair: Do you disagree, Christine?
Christine Blower: No, but I have a slightly different point to make, which is that we have surveyed parents on this matter, and I am happy to send the results to the Committee. I am not going to hazard a guess at the figure because I cannot find it in my papers, but the vast majority said clearly they would want their children to be taught by a qualified teacher. Secondly, certainly when I asked the Secretary of State about this, his response about why we did not necessarily need QTS was, "Well, lots more schools should be teaching Mandarin, and we do not have enough qualified teachers of Mandarin." Now Malcolm made the point that at the moment it is actually possible in certain limited circumstances to employ people who do not have QTS for particular reasons. It might very well be that we would accept some particular reasons in some particular circumstances, but really it should not be a strategic approach, and it is actually about making sure that parents and society have people who have a proper qualification.
Chris Keates: That is only for a limited time.
Christine Blower: Yes, exactly.
Chris Keates: They are then on limited Qualified Teacher Status.
Christine Blower: And they should then become qualified teachers in Mandarin.
Chris Keates: Yes, absolutely.
Q268 Chair: And are you going to trust your members to use such a power in a free school? The whole point has been to shake up the system. You don’t trust your members who would be leaders of those schools to use this power sensibly, in a proportionate way?
Christine Blower: Well there is a-
Chair: I am asking the question of Malcolm.
Malcolm Trobe: I expect that the majority would actually appoint people with Qualified Teacher Status.
Christine Blower: Is it not the case that increasingly in independent schools, where they do not actually have to have QTS, the vast majority of people who are employed do have QTS, and therefore there is not a model to which we can look and say, "This is obviously a good idea."
Chair: It is there for the exemptions, I suppose, the exceptions. But anyway I will come to Damian.
Q269 Damian Hinds: Sorry, I thought, from what you were saying, logically you were also implying that children at private schools are being deprived of their rights and therefore are disadvantaged relative to children at state schools.
Christine Blower: That is the view from the numbers. If you look at the numbers-I don’t have them to hand, but they are very small, even in independent schools.
Q270 Damian Hinds: Yes, but it is not compulsory in free schools to not have QTS; that is the point. It is enabling the possibility, as it is in private schools, I think. Correct me if I am wrong.
Dr Bousted: The link I made was the link between free schools funded by the state. As a taxpayer I want to ensure that…
Q271 Damian Hinds: But just answer my question. Does that mean-sorry, forgive me; I don’t mean to be rude.
Dr Bousted: Sorry, I thought I was.
Q272 Damian Hinds: I don’t mean to be rude, but in free schools it is not compulsory not to have QTS. Similarly in private schools it is not compulsory not to have QTS. So I presume they are similar. They are parallel, aren’t they?
Chris Keates: Yes, but the point we are making is we are talking about the state system and state-funded schools. We are not talking about privately funded schools. We are talking about state schools getting state money, and what the public’s expectation should be.
Q273 Damian Hinds: I accept all that, and we don’t need to dwell on the point too much. My point was just: by logic then, you are saying that children at private schools are being deprived of their rights.
Dr Bousted: No, I think I have given you-
Chris Keates: Parents are making that-
Damian Hinds: Sorry, forgive me, Chris. Mary?
Dr Bousted: I think I have given you the distinction, and the distinction is around state funding and what therefore the taxpayer should expect when their taxes go to fund a school. It should be Qualified Teacher Status.
Q274 Tessa Munt: Just a very quick question. I mean you very rightly talked about greater focus on outcomes and things being judged on outcomes. Does that also apply to this argument that the taxpayer should expect an excellent outcome from the school for which they are paying, and not get too hung up on the process by which that happens? So of course, from our free schools we should expect equal if not greater outcomes as we expect from other types of school, and not concentrate so much on how that is achieved, as I understand we said about practice in the classroom.
Chair: One quick answer from somebody on that.
Dr Bousted: The jury is out, isn’t it?
Q275 Chair: Malcolm, you are representing leaders. You are the one expressing scepticism about the irresponsible use of such powers. You can answer.
Malcolm Trobe: We would expect appropriate outcomes from all schools, because essentially whatever school a youngster goes to, we want them to get the best possible education, because it is affecting their life chances.
Q276 Damian Hinds: Christine, all of us all the time use the phrase, "Teachers do a fantastic job," and we all believe that, and I am absolutely sure that is true for the vast majority of teachers. But I don’t think anybody would seriously claim that means absolutely every single teacher does a great job. And teaching will not be for everybody. Like any occupation or any profession, people will drop out of it. I don’t expect you will be able to give a precise number, but just give us an indication of what sort of proportion of teachers you think it would be right to have still in the profession, say, 10 years after qualifying? I know you cannot give a number, but is it 100%, 0% or somewhere in between?
Christine Blower: There is clearly what the American system calls self-selecting outward migration. The fact is it is a very difficult job, teaching. It is a fantastic job, I should say-I did it for a very long time myself-but it is not a job that you would want to get up every morning and do if you actually found it a tremendous uphill struggle every single lesson. So there are clearly people who leave the profession because it frankly is not for them, and I think we would all agree that there are people for whom it is not appropriate.
I was interested in Sir Peter Lampl’s response to a similar question from this body earlier, where he said that the vast majority of people, even if they are doing okay at the moment and who don’t want to leave because actually they are happy with it, can be made into extremely good teachers. The issue that we have here is the amount of initial investment that we have, and the fact that is not matched, as you heard earlier, by the level of CPD that you need to refresh people’s professional practice and so on. So I could not give you a number, but I would not seek to give you a number. What I would say is that, if what we are saying is it is important to build in insecurity-by saying to people, "We are going to look at trying to get out the bottom whatever percent"-I don’t think that is a very good approach to the profession. We need to look at the professional practice of everyone who is in the profession, and make sure that they are afforded all of the opportunities that we think ought to be available in the profession in order that they can do the job as well as they possibly can.
Q277 Damian Hinds: Just to be clear, I don’t know of anybody who recommends having a target percentage churn per year in order to create a threat. I don’t know if that is something that you have some evidence of, but I don’t think that would be a very sensible thing at all. Chris, can I ask you, in your written evidence, and you have talked about it again today, you say that about half of teachers are seriously considering leaving the profession. Can you just talk us through the source and methodology for that?
Chris Keates: Well the source and methodology we did was a comprehensive survey of teachers.
Q278 Damian Hinds: Of your members or of all teachers?
Chris Keates: Of our members, yes. We did an online survey, which asked a whole range of questions, and it included questions about job satisfaction, how people were feeling and also questions about whether they were content in the profession and whether they considered leaving the profession. We also asked questions such as whether they had considered changing their job, which is not the same as leaving the profession. We can provide all those data.
Q279 Damian Hinds: Can you let us know the number of people who were invited to take part and the response rate and the sample weighting you did?
Chris Keates: Well it was an open invitation to our membership in England and Wales, so it was an open invitation there. The response rate that we had was over 13,500, which by anybody’s standards is a good sample.
Q280 Damian Hinds: 13,500 out of?
Chris Keates: Over a quarter of a million.
Q281 Damian Hinds: Okay. One could argue about whether that is a good response rate or not as opposed to a good response number.
Chris Keates: It is time limited as well. We time limited it over a particular period of time. But also, this Committee has taken evidence from Government surveys of over 400,000 teachers, and 1,500 is being used at the moment by the Government to promote a number and range of policies that they are actually doing, so I think we have to go by what is statistically viable evidence, and I think over 13,500 enables us to make the statement that we have actually made.
Q282 Damian Hinds: Chris, forgive me, it is the selfselection element that makes it, I am afraid, open to-at the very least-debate and question. If you are somebody who is very cheesed off in your occupation or profession, you are far more likely to answer a survey asking whether you are cheesed off in your profession or occupation.
Chris Keates: The survey did not ask that. We balanced the questions. We want results that we can put into an open forum and not have people say they are weighted results. There is no point to us basing our policies and our approach on that basis. We have shared all these statistics with the Government. We have also shared all of the questions so that they can see that what we tried to engender was a balanced response from people. It was not a weighted survey at all.
Q283 Damian Hinds: No, quite, and that is precisely the problem. Chris, sorry, forgive me; it is of course very useful evidence and it is useful to this Committee’s deliberations, but one cannot extrapolate from those results to say approximately half of teachers are seriously considering leaving the profession. You just cannot do that. Can I ask, though, in terms of your own survey, what is the time series evidence? In other words, how have those results changed over time?
Chris Keates: Over time? The last time we did the survey was just before the General Election. Then the survey that I am just quoting to you was done at the beginning of this academic year.
Q284 Damian Hinds: And what is the difference in the results between the two?
Chris Keates: We used previously the job satisfaction surveys that were done by the Department, and so we compared our data with those, and this survey has shown poorer results in that short space of time.
Q285 Damian Hinds: Are the previous results also in the written evidence that we have received?
Chris Keates: We have not put the previous results in, but that is a matter for the Department for Education. They have the previous results on job surveys.
Q286 Damian Hinds: Malcolm, can you talk us through, just in broad terms, how performance management works in schools today?
Malcolm Trobe: There is a new model policy due to come out at some time in the new year. But at the moment essentially there will be a process by which every teacher-and if we stick to teachers-is performance managed by someone who is directly linked to them in a line management capacity. In the process, they will do usually two observations, of a time limited to no more than three hours in total, over the year. They will conduct a performance management interview, usually done in September/October, I think, in most schools, after examination results, etc., are available and can be used. A performance management report will be written related to that, and there will usually be in most cases a half-year review-a sort of top-up process through there.
Q287 Damian Hinds: And when you say somebody connected to them in a line management-type relationship, do you mean their manager?
Dr Bousted: Their line manager.
Malcolm Trobe: In most cases. In large schools with very large departments, for example, you might have 10 or 12 English teachers, and the second in English may well do some of the performance management and the faculty leader will do some of the others, simply because the sheer number of handling 10 or a dozen or 15 performance management tasks would be a considerable load.
Q288 Damian Hinds: If there were concerns about the performance of a particular teacher, does the frequency and intensity of the performance management process turn up?
Malcolm Trobe: At the moment the situation is that there are clearly laid down rules and regulations as to how much observation can take place. If there are concerns about a teacher’s performance, it would initially be marked up during the performance management process. If the concerns are significant, it may well then be appropriate to move into the capability proceedings that the individual school has. There are no national capability proceedings. There is guidance related to that. Most local authorities will have had their own capability proceedings, which will have been adopted by local authority schools.
Q289 Damian Hinds: The Chairman was talking earlier about a session we had some weeks ago, where we had a group of outstanding teachers come in and we divided up into little breakout groups. In one of the breakout groups we talked about performance management, and I asked the question, "Can you tell me about a time when you have experienced or known of a colleague teacher, another teacher in your school, who has been managed out of the profession?" Sadly that was the end of the conversation, because none of that group had ever known, or they could not say they had ever known, of another teacher in their school being managed out. That may be because they are outstanding teachers from outstanding, brilliant schools, and all the other colleagues around are also outstandingly brilliant and so on and so on and so on. I accept all that possibility, but it did surprise me. In most walks of life, it is not right for everybody and some people are encouraged to go.
Dr Bousted: That is not our experience.
Chris Keates: It does not bear out our experience.
Dr Bousted: Our casework is heavily weighted towards teachers who are sometimes managed out properly, and sometimes managed out because they are the victim of bullying. There is an issue around this, just around all of this, which is for women teachers in their 50s-when teachers become expensive. But no, we certainly get lots of teachers who we are dealing with being managed out.
Q290 Damian Hinds: I am not going to ask about the bullying; maybe we will come to that later. But can I just ask Malcolm, from a school and college leaders’ perspective, what is your impression of how easy or difficult it is when needed-and one hopes that the vast majority of times it is not needed-to manage people out of either that particular job in that school or out of the profession?
Malcolm Trobe: Processes are there, and they can be used. We find that what a number of members comment on is that it can be quite a long process, in terms of taking time, but it is wholly appropriate that someone who is in difficulties is given appropriate support. You have to build that into the process, so it can elongate a process. But people can work through there, and I know of many examples where people have been managed appropriately. In some cases they actually will make a decision themselves during the process. They realise that in fact they really need a move of job; it is not actually working out for them. But support is very important as part of that. There are issues you do get on occasions where you actually do bring people up to a reasonable standard and then you get a drift backwards again. That is something that we report on, but again, people will pick up and work on that.
It is more difficult to deal with, if I could say so, those teachers who are not at capability but require a significant amount of work to raise them up to be a good standard. That is also a priority, because you are not just focusing on teachers who are on capability proceedings; your aim in school is to try to get every teacher to be a good or an outstanding teacher. That is where professional development-an appropriate professional development programme for all your staff-is absolutely critical.
Q291 Alex Cunningham: Is everybody that carries out the performance management properly equipped and properly trained to carry out appropriate performance management, and then to provide the necessary support to teachers who need that helping hand? Is the training properly in place? Is there a formal system?
Chris Keates: Can I answer that one? First of all, in place in the regulations there is a very robust and rigorous performance management system. But the question you touch on is an important one. Again, it goes back to the fragmentation of the system. When that was first introduced, there was a programme of training that supported the people both at school level and at head teacher level in terms of what was necessary. What was missing out of that process, because we often talk about managing teachers’ performance, is issues about head teachers’ performance and where the governors are in a position to do that. I have read some of the evidence you had in a previous session around that.
At the moment it is for us one of the key things that takes place in a school, because it is also access to training and development. Part of the regulation is to identify training and development. If we ask our members for their feedback, they will say the thing that is given the most lip service to in performance management is the discussion about what training and development they need, because that is often budget driven rather than need driven in terms of teachers. That is very poor for the profession and schools. It should be learning communities, and should actually be investing in training and development.
One of the things that I think is really poor about the education service is that new initiatives are introduced by Government, by local authorities, by schools themselves, and there is no investment quite often in training. It is just determined that teachers will be able to absorb these things and they will do them.
Q292 Alex Cunningham: Does that mean we have teachers who have been appraised or performance managed by people who don’t actually know what they are doing.
Chris Keates: They may not have had the training, because there is not the consistency anymore. There was originally a programme of training. That has of course stopped with the change of Government, and if people now have a line management responsibility, there is no guarantee that they will have been trained in how to properly performance manage. We are very supportive of trying to get that process done professionally. It is supposed to be developmental and supportive. It is good for the teachers, and therefore it is good for the children and young people, if we can get that working properly.
Charlotte Leslie: Briefly on the performance management, is there a role and is it possible to look at teachers’ performance by the performance of cohorts of children who they teach over time? Is that possible, and would it be in any way useful? If there is a teacher who repeatedly has a class with lower results than other classes, is that realistic?
Dr Bousted: That does play a part in most teachers’ performance management, the results that they get, but those have to be benchmarked, of course, against similar results of children in similar circumstances. But data-driven evaluation is very important now in schools, and it does go right down to the level of the individual teacher. My view is we have far too much data and we are awash with data, and we have not yet decided as a system what key data we need to make proper judgments both at the individual level, at departmental and at school level. Of course, the other issue, and Governments do not like to hear this-the last Government did not and this Coalition do not like to hear it-is that in-school variation between departments or between teachers is bigger than between-school variation, and that is why performance management is so important in-school.
There is also something else that Governments do not like to hear: it is all about leadership. Actually the most important leadership is at departmental level or at phase level in-school, because it is the quality of teaching and learning where you get the greatest difference and the greatest results. All the evidence says that. Of course that then feeds into who goes into the school and what the teaching and learning strategies for that. Because the greatest variations between schools depend on the intake, but in-school variation, when you take away the intake-because the intake is the same for the whole school-is where you get the real difference.
Q293 Chair: Thank you. Malcolm?
Malcolm Trobe: In support of what Mary said, one of the first things I said about leadership was about distributed leadership, and it is about getting leadership down to departmental level. I disagree with Mary on in-school variation as one of the major areas that needs to be tackled-it has been identified. It is quite a difficult issue to tackle, but learning from the best departments within your own institution is an important strand of it.
On performance management, going back to what was said there, I have just finished a round of 10 conferences for our members around the country, and one of the things we have been saying to them very strongly is there is a new performance model/performance management policy coming out, and the importance of training your staff to in performance management-people taking away the fact that they do need to train staff in performance management. It is a key aspect of it. With new teacher standards coming in from next September, there is also the importance of applying the new teacher standards, which will be the benchmarks effectively for that performance management.
Q294 Pat Glass: I think we all recognise that you are defending your members, but equally I think we would all recognise that there is a small number of poor teachers in the system who simply get recirculated around the system. I think that is partly because the system that we have for managing under-performance is too brutal and has a massive impact on the rest of the school. Do we need a more humane system for supporting people and managing them out of the system?
Christine Blower: I think we need a system that everybody understands, which is that if there is someone who has areas for development or apparent weaknesses in their practice, there has to be a way of making sure there is support for that. I think in response to the previous question about performance management, one of the things that Chris said that is really important is that performance management does not give you access to CPD or other kinds of training necessarily, because it is budgetled rather than needsled. So whilst you are absolutely right, Pat, that much of this approach is brutal, the fact is, if it is driven just by budget and it is cheaper to push someone through performance management or the capability procedures to try and get rid of them, than it is actually to support their practice, that is a significant problem.
The other thing is that I am not entirely sure that these people are being recycled round the system. There is no real way for doing that in the sense that, if someone leaves one school and applies for a job somewhere else-gone are the days when local authorities could easily move someone between schools.
Q295 Pat Glass: How about compromise agreements? They are rife within the sector.
Chris Keates: It does not necessarily mean the people are incompetent.
Christine Blower: No. And the other thing is that there are some teachers who are not especially successful in some settings who are much more successful in other settings, so in terms of the investment that we have made in making someone a teacher, it makes sense not to damage their entire future career just because they have been perhaps a little less successful in one school when they could be successful in other places. There will be ample evidence of people who do move from one setting to another. Equally, there are people who are very successful in one school who then move to another school and find actually it does not work for them; they are not so successful. It maybe the ethos, it may be the intake, it may be a whole lot of other things. So you are right; it must not be brutal, but also it must not just get rid of people from the system when they can do something very positive in different circumstances.
Chair: Thank you. That is enough of performance management.
Q296 Pat Glass: I just wanted to ask very quickly about the status of teaching. Craig and I met some young teachers and some young teenagers recently, and there was a clear difference between their views. The young people, young girls-they were all girls, weren’t they?
Craig Whittaker: They were year 9.
Pat Glass: Year 9, yes. They felt their teachers got paid enough, and the young teachers saw salaries as a major issue. How important is status and how important are salaries within status?
Chris Keates: Well salaries are very important to the status of the profession. If somebody is a highly skilled professional, they want to attract pay levels that reward that highly skilled status. But it is not just pay; it is the point I made earlier about having robust regulatory bodies, because that builds confidence.
Remember we are operating in a climate where we want to build up and enhance the status of teaching, yet every day you open the paper and there is denigration of the profession and denigration of people who work in public services. That does not help to raise the status of any of those who work in public services, including teachers. I think the issue of professional autonomy and professional respect is very important as well. I think there is a combination of things that enhance status, and pay is one of them.
Dr Bousted: I would just like to use the words from the Deputy Prime Minister, which are "heavy lifting". It is certainly the case that teachers, along with other public sector workers, do feel they are doing the heavy lifting. One of the things we had in the noughties was significant catch-up increases in teachers’ pay to make it a profession where lots of people did want to apply and did want to train. The danger of a twoyear pay freeze and a 1% pay cap, and that going on and on and on, with inflation as it currently is, is that for the numbers you need to recruit into teaching, it is perceived that, for a very difficult and demanding job, pay levels are poor. In our view, if you look to reasonable pay, so that teachers who are thinking of spending at least £9,000 more training not knowing what the bottom line of pay is going to be, you look to what happened to FE lecturers since college incorporation, and they are dropping their pay standards. There are all sorts of issues around teacher supply.
I am a union leader, so I would say that, wouldn’t I? But one of the most important pieces of international evidence is the link between high-quality teaching and good rates of pay. That comes out as a significant factor.
I would just like to say one more thing about punitive. I would widen your sense of what is punitive in terms of managing people out, and tell this Committee that one of the really important things for you to do, or that we all need to do, is look at the unnecessarily punitive aspects of teachers’ everyday working lives, because many teachers find that, by the time they get to the end of a term, they are just exhausted. The daily grind of the workload on teachers is something that means these many very good teachers who could give much more to the profession, and this Committee is about teacher retention, end up being hollowed out and exhausted. We have to think much more carefully, both in schools and as a nation, about how we refresh teachers in their working lives, and stop them being utterly exhausted?
Q297 Pat Glass: Mary, on that point, we had an academy principal who came to see us who said that she had spoken to her teachers, and they had agreed that they would rather have additional money instead of professional time, PPS time. What do you think about that?
Dr Bousted: I don’t think you should be asking them that; I think that is the wrong question. If you look at the top-performing countries, teachers think class size is very important but the evidence is that it is not. What is very important is the amount of time within the working week that teachers are given to plan and prepare their work and assess.
Q298 Chair: What about the time per week spent teaching? Do our teachers have to teach too much?
Dr Bousted: I think they do, yes.
Christine Blower: It certainly seems to me that, if you look at international comparisons, our teachers are teaching rather a lot.
Q299 Damian Hinds: Sorry to interrupt. What are the best sources for that research?
Dr Bousted: I have forgotten it, but I can get it.
Q300 Damian Hinds: Would you write to us? That would be very helpful, if that is alright.
Chris Keates: I think it is Korea, but I don’t want to give you an easy answer; I can get it.
Chair: Chris can not only refer you to it but hand it to you.
Chris Keates: I brought it along just in case you had not got it.
Craig Whittaker: Do you have 10 copies?
Q301 Chair: Christine?
Christine Blower: It is not for me to ask the Committee questions, but I am intrigued to know that year 9 is some kind of benchmark for deciding how well teachers should be paid. That does seem to me to be a rather interesting way to approach it. I do want to respond, though, on Pat’s question about time versus money. The point is that, if you ask a range of people whose domestic budgets are under pressure if they want more time or more money, they are likely to say, "I need more money." I am not surprised you would get that answer if you asked it at particular times, but on mature reflection the answer would be, "Actually, I need both."
Chris Keates: The response to that head teacher should have been, "Why have you given them that choice? Don’t you want your teachers to be providing high-quality lessons and give them the time to do that?"
Malcolm Trobe: I was just going to say, as a school leader you have a duty of care to ensure that you are not putting too much workload on your staff, and therefore you are responsible for the teachers’ work/life balance in many respects. So it is appropriate that they have the amount of "free" time to carry out their planning, preparation and other work.
Chair: One last question.
Q302 Craig Whittaker: Could I ask you all, if you have it, to send to the Panel information on how many of your members who are teachers are currently on capability assessments, and how many of your members/teachers leave the profession as a result of those? If you could send those through to us that would be helpful. My final question is do you believe there are suitable promotion opportunities for teachers, and particularly for those who don’t want to leave the classroom, and how do we relate that into poor retention, etc.?
Chris Keates: One of the things we tried to do when we were doing the reforms of the pay system was to make sure that people who wanted to remain committed to the classroom could command high salaries without having to take on management responsibilities that took them away from the classroom. We were moving in that direction, and we were also, of course, doing a strive for excellence as well by putting in an excellent teacher scheme and the advanced skills teachers.
The problem with all of those is, first of all, the excellent teacher scheme did not get off the ground, and there are hardly any advanced skills teachers, particularly since the grant ran out from Government. What you then find is that you have a situation where you cannot say to heads how to spend their budget. So they are not rewarding, if you like, within that pay system. But basically we have more work to do on the pay system to make sure that it is rewarding those people who choose to stay in the classroom. There is a whole debate to be had about how administration in schools is done and who does that, and dividing that from teaching and learning.
Q303 Craig Whittaker: So the answer is no then. Does anyone want to add to that?
Dr Bousted: There are not career paths. The system just does not think about career paths for teachers who want to stay in the classroom, but you have to link that with CPD. You have to link that with the expert practitioner in the classroom and how you spread it. That links with inschool variation. E M Forster: "Only connect"-all those things need to connect.
Christine Blower: There is clearly much more of a career path in secondary than there is in primary, partly obviously given the matter of size. But of course one of the difficulties that we have is that people used to be able to be, if you like, promoted out of classrooms as good practitioners as local authority advisers, for example, but then come back in. As you get the fragmentation of the system, we have seen over a long time those sorts of opportunities were lost. They are actually very good for broadening experience across; to some extent that is covered by the advanced skills teacher, but it is really a rather different kind of model. The replication of that across the local authority levels would be a really good thing, because that would give you a very obvious career path.
Malcolm Trobe: There is further work to do. I will leave it at that.
Chair: Thank you.