‘Letting the Right One In’: Provider Contexts for Recruitment to Initial Teacher Education in the United Kingdom

November, 2016

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education 60 (2016) 291-302
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study examined relationships between the recruitment practice and contexts for recruitment to initial teacher education (ITE).

Data were collected through in-depth interviews with 29 HEI tutors, 24 teachers and 5 local authority officials responsible for the selection of applicants to ITE and first teaching jobs in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The authors found that policy makers in England have recently shifted the balance of responsibility for recruitment from higher education institutes (HEIs) to schools. The policy makers in Wales are considering a similar change, but at present their recruitment is firmly in the control of HEIs. The authors found that the recruitment to ITE in Northern Ireland remains firmly in the control of HEIs whilst policymakers in Scotland remain committed to its partnership of HEIs and local authorities in recruiting to ITE.

They identified three dimensions of variation:
Conceptions of professionalism
The authors argue that recruitment practice will reflect recruiters' perceptions of teaching as an occupational profession, organisational profession or craft.

Universal or context specific preparation
The authors also argue that recruitment practice will be affected by the degree to which recruiters think of ITE as a universal or specific preparation and in particular whether they treat it as preparation for an organisation or a profession.

Costs and benefits to providers
They also claim that recruitment practice will be affected by the costs and benefits that accrue to the provider (as opposed to the profession).
The authors suggest that policy plays a strong determining role in shaping the context for recruitment to ITE and possibilities for improving the teacher workforce through recruitment have become salient for policymakers as the importance of the individual teacher has become more fully recognised. They suggest that policies need to be judged not only by prospects for creating positive effects but also in terms of the unwished for problems that any policy change necessarily creates. 

Updated: Nov. 15, 2018