Alarming fall in training applications spells problems for schools and computer science
Warnings that there is insufficient capacity in English schools to teach the new computing curriculum, with its heavy emphasis on computer science, are being borne out by the latest enrolment statistics from the Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR).
Even if all of the applications for Initial Teacher Education in Computing are accepted, which is highly unlikely, they would not even make up a quarter of the places available. Despite all the publicity about the new curriculum, applications are 55 per cent down on last year's.
The GTTR statistics cover a total of 803 places available for Initial Teacher Education in Computing. It is understood that as of this week there are 211 applicants (138 males, 73 females) for 803 places. This time last year the applications for ICT stood at 384 (249 males, 135 females). The current applications represent a 55 per cent fall on last year's.
These statistics are available to the Department for Education, which is responsible for the new curriculum, but there is no sign of action being taken to reduce such a dramatic shortfall. At this time of year it is highly unlikely for the number of applications to rise. And although some teachers will take the School Direct route to the classroom, it is understood that those numbers will not alleviate the problem significantly.
The final version of the much criticised Programme of Study for the new computing curriculum – its development was steered by industry forces rather than educators – has not yet been released by the DfE, but changes are not expected. So schools will find it difficult to recruit specialist teachers and the need for fresh CPD (continuing professional development) has suddenly intensified.