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HEi-think: Graduate employers will be disappointed by Migration Committee report

Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive at the Institute of Student Employers, responds to the publication of the Migration Advisory Committee report on the impacts of international students in the UK.

Part-time degree is worth up to £377k, study suggests

Completing a part-time degree in your late 30s is associated with an increase in lifetime earnings of up to £377,000 in cash terms, a new study commissioned by the Open University shows.

HEi-think: Why overseas students deserve a more welcoming UK visa policy

Following encouraging comments from universities minister Sam Gyimah on Universities UK's call for the re-introduction of a post-study work visa, Professor Sir Keith Burnett, the outgoing President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield who co-founded the #WeAreInternational campaign with the President of the Sheffield Students' Union in 2012, argues that now is the time for the government to back up its welcoming words for international students with a welcoming policy change.

HEi-think: UUK annual conference -- thoughts from HE leaders

University UK's annual conference, held at Sheffield Hallam University, kicked off the academic year with speeches and debates on a wide range of burning issues, including Brexit, fees and funding, overseas students, public perceptions of HE, value for money, freedom of speech, and student mental health. HEi-know asked Higher Education Policy Institute Director Nick Hillman, Staffordshire University Vice-Chancellor Professor Liz Barnes, and Lancaster University Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark Smith, to give their personal perspectives on the event and its themes.

HEi-think: "Market-driven" teacher training recruitment may fail to resolve supply crisis

As the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers meets for its annual conference, UCET Executive Director James Noble-Rogers considers the potential impact of a new "market-driven" teacher training recruitment system on providers and the teacher supply crisis facing schools.

 

As teacher educators from across the UK meet in Birmingham for the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) 2015 annual conference, the 300 or so delegates will have a number of things on their minds, not least the ongoing implications of teacher education reforms, particularly in England and Wales.

The conference coincides with the start of recruitment to ITT programmes for the 2016/17 academic year, something which is of particular significance because of increasing concerns about teacher supply.

In England, the Department for Education has introduced, possibly for an interim year only, a radically new system of recruitment. Instead of allocating student number targets by phase and secondary subject to each provider, a quasi-market system has been introduced that will allow, subject to some important constraints, providers to recruit as many students as they choose until national recruitment targets in each phase and subject have been met.

This system could, potentially, have some advantages. Under the old system, it made absolutely no sense for universities and SCITTs to be prevented from recruiting student teachers in a particular subject despite proven demand for new teachers in that subject in the region concerned.

Against the possible advantages, however, there could be negative repercussions. Firstly, ITT providers could find it increasingly difficult to plan recruitment, staffing and budgets, something that could have an impact on viability and sustainability. Secondly, there is a danger that in the easier to fill subjects and phases (primary, and secondary PE, English and history) providers will feel pressured into recruiting as many students as quickly as possible before national recruitment controls are applied.  This could skew recruitment across regions and providers, and mean that potentially gifted teachers applying later in the year will struggle to find a place.

There is also an inherent injustice in the new methodology. Despite all talk of a 'market-driven' approach, the DFE has ensured that the market is rigged and that the choices open to applicants are restricted. This is because DFE has imposed a maximum figure on recruitment to programmes delivered through mainstream university-school partnerships, whereas no cap is applied to the government's preferred 'school-led' School Direct and SCITT routes.

Trying to crudely fix markets is never a good idea. And even from a narrow policy perspective it makes little sense, because many teacher education programmes delivered through existing university-school partnerships are at least as 'schools-led' as those delivered through, the preferred routes. 

We shall see how the new system pans out in practice.  But in time we hope that a new system will emerge which recognises the valuable contribution that universities, SCITTs and School Direct can all make towards meeting the countries teacher supply needs, and that a model of genuine and sustainable partnerships involving all partners in training is developed. UCET, which is launching its new strategy at the conference, will contribute to the development of such a model, consistent with its policy of principled and constructive engagement.'

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