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Published: 6th June 2019

From: John Roberts @ TES

A schools minister has told teacher training providers to help ensure that candidates that they reject for their courses are not lost to the profession.

Nick Gibb has written to initial teacher training (ITT) providers to encourage rejected candidates to call the Get Into Teaching line to get help finding an alternative course.

The school standards minister has also revealed that seven new centres are being opened to allow teaching candidates to sit the skills test more quickly.

Teacher recruitment and retention is a major focus for the Department for Education, which launched its strategy to bolster teacher numbers earlier this year.

Mr Gibb said in a letter sent to training providers today that an increasing number of candidates are applying for teacher training up to and over the summer.

He said he wanted to ensure the department supported ITT providers to maximise recruitment over the summer months.

He said: “I should be grateful if you would continue to engage with my officials in relation to Ucas rejections, and to ensure they are managed and recorded correctly.

“If a candidate is not right for your course and is rejected, then I ask you to encourage them to call the Get Into Teaching line on 0800 389 2500, for help and support…in finding an alternative ITT course which is right for them.”

He also said that access to skills test centres can be a barrier to teacher recruitment.

“I have increased the availability of skills tests, to ensure that candidates can book tests at a time and location which is suitable for them,” he said.

“New test-centre locations are now live in Truro, Hull and Carlisle. Centres in Peterborough, Brighton, Ashford and Kent will be opened in June. In areas not currently located near a centre, there is the option of a ‘pop-up’ test centre model.”

Last year, Tes revealed concerns that hundreds of future teachers could be lost to the system because they had been unable to take the skills test they need to start training.

Students need to complete the skills test before they can begin initial teacher training. However, there were reports in August that candidates had been unable to book appointments to sit it.

James Noble-Rogers, executive director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, told Tes last year that there was a growing problem of candidates not being able to sit the skills test before their university course was due to start.

At the time, the DfE said that there was no backlog of candidates waiting to sit the skills tests.


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