NCTL may well have inadvertently driven down the quality for the 2016-17 cohort!

I once boarded a plane, which on landing landed in the wrong airport about 100 miles from where we were due to land at 2.00 in the morning. Despite this everyone was cheering, as there was huge relief that we had actually landed.


So when NCTL announced they were applying the ‘reserve organisation recruitment control’ for History, English and Primary postgraduate HEI ITT courses there was again some relief – once again we have survived the turbulence!


If you were not aware of what the announcement meant, it indicated that providers would be able to recruit a minimum of 75% of History, English or Primary totals from the previous year. So, hooray we are at least going to recruit 75% of last years total!


But wait this is still a 25% cut in students and income which is more drastic than was anticipated when the initial controls were introduced. This means that the very best (and the very worst) HEI providers all get a 25% cut! Diligence and quality remain unrewarded and those who can recruit faster than everyone else (by whatever means) may just be able to reach 95% of last years total.


So why did this happen:


Well firstly NCTL tried to manipulate the market and seriously misjudged the behavior of providers (despite being told what would happen).


Secondly NCTL also misjudged their own ability to manage the market as having initially indicated they would give providers regular updates about recruitment – suddenly they couldn’t keep up with the speed of recruitment and the system failed.


The reason for this was that some providers realizing they could be left high and dry resorted to recruiting in any way they could.


Examples of this include telephone only interviews and even offers of a place before interview. Whilst I can’t condone such behavior – I do understand it – but I really do hope that NCTL start to ask providers about the equity and quality assurance procedures that were or were not applied in the rush to recruit.



And what does this all mean:


If you read twitter you will see there are a whole bunch of applicants who are shocked at the speed at which their applications for a PGCE have been processed and the pressure they were under to attend interviews (where proper interviews took place) at short notice.


It will therefore be interesting to see how many of those accepted would previously have been accepted on to a PGCE. I am sure there will now be providers who may well be already regretting their panic recruitment in relation to the quality of applicants they have offered places to. Sadly NCTL may well have inadvertently driven quality down for the 2016-17 cohort!


To their credit NCTL did at least realize it was going horribly wrong and brought in the reserve control of 75% – but this is still bad news.


So what next:


NCTL have indicated that the application of recruitment controls was for one year – but they haven’t actually said what might be next. I do hope they consult on their next plans and more importantly listen to those who genuinely want to drive up standards and who want to maintain quality.


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