Britain’s top private schools ‘to train their own teachers’

The Telegraph, 26/09/14, Graeme Paton reports on HMC's announcement that it will launch a new teacher training scheme amid concerns over a shortage of talented recruits. Richard Harman, Chairman of HMC and Headmaster of Uppingham School and Chris King, Chairman Elect of HMC and Headmaster of Leicester Grammar School are quoted. HMC Schools Eton, Harrow, Charterhouse, Rugby, Shrewsbury and Westminster are mentioned.

Oxbridge graduates will be trained as teachers at Britain’s top private schools under radical plans designed to address a “woeful national shortfall” of recruits, it was announced today.

Schools belonging to the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) will recruit and train students directly from leading universities in a move designed to create a talented pool of new teachers.

Around 100 graduates will recruited to the HMC Teacher Training programme for the first time next summer, with numbers expected to grow in coming years.

The announcement is made before next week’s annual meeting of HMC, which represent 260 top schools including Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Charterhouse, Rugby, Shrewsbury and Westminster.

All students will train directly in schools and gain a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) accredited by Buckingham University – giving them permission to work in private or state schools across the UK.

The move comes amid concerns over a shortage in the number of teachers being trained nationally, with a third of school governors responding to a survey last month admitting they were struggling to recruit new staff.

It is thought that most teachers recruited to the HMC training programme will be from Britain’s top universities, including Oxford, Cambridge and other members of the Russell Group. Schools will cover the £8,000 training costs and pay students a training wage.

But the association denied that it represented a move to “poach” top graduates who would have otherwise entered the state education system.

Richard Harman, HMC chairman and headmaster of Uppingham School, said: “Teaching can be a tough job but it can be wonderfully fulfilling. Yet, there is a woeful national shortage of teachers.

“By introducing this scheme, HMC gives would-be teachers a flexible route into initial training and a strong foundation for a career in teaching.”

Chris King, head of Leicester Grammar School, who is leading on the training programme, said: “Shrinking numbers of PGCE places in universities means a risk of reduction in high-quality teacher trainees entering the profession.

“It will be available to those trainees who demonstrate a strong motivation for teaching and who have an excellent academic background.”

The two-year full-time programme will provide a blend of on-the-job training across a wide range of subjects. Students will be trained in-school while receiving support from Buckingham academics and taking part in residential events.

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