The NCTL have just published a breakdown of Initial Teacher Training allocations for 2014-15 (at 4.44pm on Friday – someone must have been keen to get this out before home time). I’ve had a quick glance. In general, allocations for 2014-15 are higher than 2013-14. I’m guessing this reflects a national problem with recruitment to School Direct last year when plenty of SD providers ended up short of their allocations. A lot of my colleagues were involved in supporting lead schools in their interviewing last year and, if reflected nationally, the issue is at least partly that schools are used to recruiting NQTs but trainees are a step further back and schools sometimes struggled to see their potential. The other problem of course is that SD providers are much smaller than HEIs so there is a much greater chance that some SD places will be turning down good applicants whilst others won’t get any.
There is some evidence that the NCTL have taken this on board; the SCITTs got everything they applied for but SD allocations are way down compared to places applied for. For example, there were 1818 English SD places applied for and only 676 allocated, whereas HEIs asked for 1396 and got 836. Overall, HEIs got 0.74 of what they applied for and SD got 0.79. Given the DfE policy of favouring SD (and bearing in mind the protection of Outstanding HEI allocations) maybe the NCTL have taken a reasonably sensible view and learned from the mistake last year of assuming that SD would recruit as successfully as HEIs have generally done. The size of the allocations certainly looks as though an attempt has been made to increase the provision to compensate for last year’s shortfall. Whether the NCTL pared down the right SD applications though, is a different question. There is certainly at least one Outstanding lead school in my neck of the woods that has invested significantly in preparing to expand their SD provision, now spitting feathers over their allocation. It may be that schools need to take a glance at the discomfort in HEIs before making any assumptions about security of funding for teacher training.