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Universities to lose traditional teacher training places

29 November 2012

Two-thirds of institutions will see a drop in places • Some institutions to lose almost three-quarters of their places

More than two-thirds of higher education institutions in England will have their teacher training places cut from September 2013, according to analysis released today.

Government figures, analysed by UCU, show that 52 of the 75 higher education institutions that offer Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses* will see a reduction in places in the academic year 2013/14. A total of 2,037 university-based ITT places will be lost - equivalent to 7.2% of the total places available.

Some institutions will be hit particularly hard by the cuts. The top five worst-hit institutions are the University of Sheffield (-71.3%), Keele University (-48.8%), the University of Newcastle (-38.8%) the University of Leeds (-37.6%), and the University of Warwick (-37.2%). See table below for list of top 10 worst-hit institutions.

The reduction is down to a change in direction from the coalition government which is pushing for more teacher training to take place in schools, via its newly created School Direct programme. This will see a move away from the traditional university-based model of teacher training and an associated loss in funding for those university departments.

While HEIs in England in 2013-14 are losing core ITT places, they will be gaining 6,451 School Direct salaried and training programme places. In all HEIs will gain 4,414 teaching training places, an increase in 2013-14 of 15.6%

UCU has highlighted that university teacher training departments already work in very close partnership with schools and many university departments have achieved high grades from Ofsted in recognition of their work.

The union argues the training offered by universities provides a wider overview of the profession giving trainees the opportunity to learn about different curricula models and approaches to teaching. Trainees benefit from the expertise of experienced lecturers who are often active in research in their field. University teacher training departments also offer ongoing training and development to existing qualified teachers.

UCU General Secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Trainee teachers based in universities get a holistic and evidence-based view of teaching as they are taught about different approaches to effective teaching in diverse settings. Schools also benefit greatly from their relationship with their local university education departments. We want to see this successful partnership model protected. Cutting teacher training could threaten the future viability of these university departments.

'The departments are also an invaluable resource for teachers who want to do further training and development during their careers. Our concern is that in years to come, this opportunity could be lost in some regions.'

HEIs in order of % change in HEI-based ITT places 2012-13 to 2013-14

HEI-based ITT 2012-13

HEI-based ITT 2013-14

HEI-based ITT 2012-13 to 2013-14 change N

HEI-based ITT 2012-13 to 2013-14 change %

University of Sheffield





Keele University





University of Newcastle





University of Leeds





University of Warwick





University of Sussex





University of Bedfordshire





Central School of Speech and Drama





University of Southampton





Liverpool John Moores University





The data used were from and only include HEIs providing teacher training. They include undergraduate and postgraduate full-time and part-time students. They do not show organisations solely providing school-based teacher training. The data for 2012-13 were as revised at 29.2.12. Calculations by UCU.

*the data include ITT at the University Centre, Bradford College

Copies of full table available from press office

Last updated: 11 December 2015