Teacher training routes lead to different outcomes

A new study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies examines the different costs, and likely outcomes, of various routes into teaching.

In England there is a policy of increased school-led initial teacher training, moving away from traditional training in higher education (HE). Although the postgraduate HE route is still the most popular (approximately 40% of trainees each year), school-led approaches such as School Direct (more than 30%) and Teach First (5%) are growing.

The study uses data from the School Workforce Census, an annual record of the school workforce in state-funded schools in England, between 2010 and 2014. This allowed the researchers to track the progress of early career trainees. The key findings from the report included:

  • Five-year retention rates for primary school trainees in state-funded education vary from 58% to 68%, with School Direct (or its predecessor, GTP) trainees being most likely to stay in the sector.
  • Five-year retention rates for secondary school trainees vary more, from 37-44% for Teach First to 59-62% for School Direct.
  • This variation in retention rates means a variation in the cost of having a trainee “in service” five years on, from £59,000 to £72,000 for Teach First to £25,000-£44,000 for all other routes. However, Teach First trainees are disproportionately likely to teach in schools with the most disadvantaged population of pupils.
  • Retention may be affected by the relative pay of teachers and other local workers – higher local wages were associated with lower retention rates of teachers.

Source: The Longer-Term Costs and Benefits of Different Initial Teacher Training Routes (2016), Institute for Fiscal Studies