A study by the UK’s Institute for Fiscal Studies examines the different costs, and likely outcomes, of various routes into teaching.
In England there is a policy of increased school-led initial teacher training, moving away from traditional training in higher education (HE). Although the postgraduate HE route is still the most popular (approximately 40% of trainees each year), school-led approaches such as School Direct, which employs prospective teachers as they learn on the job (more than 30%), and Teach First, the UK version of Teach for America (5%), are growing.
The study used data from the School Workforce Census, an annual record of the school workforce in state-funded schools in England, between 2010 and 2014. This allowed the researchers to track the progress of early career trainees. The key findings from the report included:
- Five-year retention rates for elementary school trainees in state-funded education vary from 58% to 68%, with School Direct (or its predecessor, GTP) trainees being most likely to stay in the sector.
- Five-year retention rates for secondary school trainees vary more, from 37-44% for Teach First to 59-62% for School Direct.
- This variation in retention rates means a variation in the cost of having a trainee “in service” five years on, from $77,900 to $95,000 for Teach First to $33,000 to $58,000 for all other routes. However, Teach First trainees are disproportionately likely to teach in schools with the most disadvantaged population of students.
- Retention may be affected by the relative pay of teachers and other local workers – higher local wages were associated with lower retention rates of teachers.
Source (Open Access): Allen, R., Belfield, C., Greaves, E., Sharp, C., & Walker, M. (2016). The longer-term costs and benefits of different initial teacher training routes (IFS report R118). London, UK: The Institute for Fiscal Studies.