Ministers accused of pressure over teacher recruits

Teacher trainers have come under pressure from officials to “justify” decisions to reject candidates.Emma Hollis, head of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers, said making it easier to get into teaching was not the answer.

The government said that recruitment requirements had not changed. However, recruitment targets have been missed for six years in a row and hundreds of head teachers say how tough it is to recruit teachers, particularly those in specialist subjects.

The government have also increased the number of chances recruits have to pass skills tests, and issued unlimited initial teacher training places in shortage subjects.
But providers say they have come under repeated pressure to take the kinds of candidates that they had been rejecting.

They have been summoned to a string of meetings by Schools Minister Nick Gibb and his Department for Education (DfE) officials, over the past six months, where they were quizzed over which candidates were rejected and why.

Ms Hollis said: “There’s a pressure on providers to deal with the problem that we are faced with, by accepting a higher proportion of those we interview, even when experience is absolutely telling us that they might not be right”

She added: “I actually think a rejection rate is a positive thing and I don’t think there would be any employer who would disagree.
“Our bar is high and it should be high for teaching. It needs to be high to ensure the quality of the workforce.”