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UCU response to IFS report on costs of Initial Teacher Training routes

10 November 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

UCU has said that simple cost-benefit analysis of teacher training routes doesn't address the long-term threats to university education departments caused by competitive teacher training allocations.

Responding to a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) released today the union said that, although in many instances the school based routes appear to offer good value, they rely on expertise from university education departments. However, the way in which places are now being allocated to different training routes means that universities are less able to plan ahead for their own education courses, putting the sustainability of university-led initial teacher education in some areas at risk and leading to costly under-recruitment of students in some subjects.

UCU also pointed to the report's finding that student loans for education courses are less likely to be repaid, saying that it bolstered the argument for an overhaul of student finance and the introduction of direct funding from government to support initial teacher education.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'This report is useful in assessing short term costs of different teacher training routes, but we are concerned that there is a much bigger hidden cost not being addressed - namely the threat to university education departments caused by reducing the direct allocation of training places to universities. This approach leads to uncertainty for higher education institutions from year to year, and the under recruitment of Schools Direct could lead to costly student shortages in some key subjects.

'The report also reinforces our calls for a complete review of student finance - it's clear that the current system for supporting trainee teachers is costly for the taxpayer because many of the loans simply won't be repaid.'

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