I have recently had a number of conversations with the DfE about the impact of the recent changes to the recruitment criteria.  Many of you are telling us anecdotally that the pressure to recruit ‘riskier’ candidates is impacting on your provision and the DfE are open to hearing what impact this is having on the ground.  This is an example of a way your voice can have real impact and affect change at policy level.  Unfortunately, we currently have only 27 replies to the poll on this subject, which does not give me robust enough data to state the case.  It would be incredibly helpful if you could take a quick moment to respond to the poll, which can be found here (you will need to scroll down to underneath the ‘Categories’ list.

It has also been suggested that it might be helpful to offer a forum for further discussion on this issue beyond the poll.  Please do use the comments section of this blog for any further comments you may have.  I will feedback the qualitative responses as well as the quantitative results of the poll to the DfE for their consideration.

Emma Hollis


  1. Alison Brady on November 6, 2018 at 9:20 am

    Although not compulsory our candidates are keen to do school experience as it assists them in the preparation for interview. We have never insisted on 10 days but where candidates have been hesitant to engage with pupils we have suggested further school experience days to build confidence. The SEP programme has also allowed us to identify individuals who are unsuitable at this time and advised them on how to develop to be ready to apply.
    we hosted over 200 SEP days last year and they are a key part of recruitment as you can dispel many myths regarding a teaching career.

  2. Jane Cole on November 6, 2018 at 9:25 am

    We’ve voted on your poll for you, but needed to be able to select more than just one answer, all bar the first one would apply!

    Not only are we noticing the difference with this year’s cohort (2018), we have also seen a massive difference in the applications for the 2019 cohort – we have had a quite a few applications, it has to be said, but …… every single one of them is for a salaried route, not one person has applied for a tuition fee route!

    Not being allowed to stipulate the amount of school experience for either tuition fee or salaried routes (beyond one small sentence buried on our website that says ‘it is likely that successful salaried applicants will be able to evidence substantial school experience’) means that everyone is chancing their arm and we are getting very low calibre personal statements where applicants are unable to demonstrate any sort of in-depth knowledge and understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a primary teacher, nor can they evidence any understanding of what teaching and learning looks like in a classroom 😞

    We experienced a high number of withdrawals in our first few years as a provider, before we introduced the need for school experience as a compulsory criteria, and the cracks are already starting to show now that we have had to remove this requirement.

    Two Mile Ash ITT Partnership

  3. Treena Philpotts on November 11, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    In previous years we were never insisted on 10 days experience. Our SCITT evaluation document year on year would suggest that lengthy prior school experience did not have any impact on final outcomes. However, we know that it is essential that applicants know how demanding the role of teaching will be prior to starting and also have seen some good teaching prior to starting. It looked easy when we were pupils in school right? Ultimately on interview we look at the potential of individuals and their understanding of the profession and the likelihood of them remaining in the profession for years to come. Have they got a good support network around them? Do they understand the work demands? I hope that all ITT providers (not only SCITTs) see well beyond the ITT year in creating a workforce for the future rather than just filling yearly targets. I worry this is not happening now particularly given the accountability of ‘rejections’ and no expectation of school experience. You wouldn’t buy a £9K dress without trying it on first! We have seen each year a couple of withdrawals due to ‘I just wanted a bursary and try to it out’ despite our very tight screening process. The methodology for Maths (£20k then 5K year 3 and again year 5) provides hope that there is another incentive to remain in the profession until a time when you have got closer to mastering it. I would like to see some version of payback…but I can understand why it isn’t there. If the DfE can see beyond the training year numbers; SCITTs are all about training and retaining excellent teachers of the future.
    Treena Philpotts Director of Nottinghamshire Torch SCITT/TSA

  4. Doncaster ITT Partnership on November 13, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Like other comments we have never insisted on school experience and many with little or no experience go on to be excellent teachers, whilst some with considerable paid employment in schools do not, so there is no precise measure of relative worth.

    We have always promoted that ‘high quality applicants will probably have had some school experience’ as generally they will be able to relate to their time in a classroom and so have better applications, be more likely to be short-listed for interview and be better at interview as they can relate to their experiences. But not always.

    We too have had greater withdrawals since we placed less emphasis on experience and generally those who have been in schools before are less likely to leave the course. Those with no real experience tend to be more likely to withdraw.

    Our schools offer voluntary experience on an individual basis and have had poor experiences of the SEP, so do not subscribe to this despite evidence to say that it works.

    As per Treena’s post, more emphasis should be placed on retention and so reduce the need to recruit. Lately it feels like we’re working really hard just to provide cannon fodder.

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