The value of investing in ITT

03 October 2022 |

I have led school ITT (Initial Teacher Training) provision for nearly a decade now. Never, has it been more apparent how vital and beneficial to schools, the building of those relationships and partnerships with universities and training providers is.  

The education system appears to be in a semi-permanent recruitment and retention crisis. Applications to ITT dropped considerably in the summer of 2022. After a short-lived recovery in 2020 and 2021, due in some parts to the pandemic and relative job security teacher training provided, schools are again faced with a challenging recruitment landscape. At secondary level, skilled graduates in maths, the sciences and computing are often enticed into private sector jobs, where their specialist knowledge and skillset can earn greater immediate financial reward. Budget cuts and accountability measures have led some schools to narrow their curriculum with regards to technology subjects and the creative arts. The relative geographical isolation of the South West means there are often less opportunities to train in niche subjects such as Music, Dance, and the technologies. Alongside bursary cuts for many subjects and a genuine cost of living crisis, schools are facing a greater challenge to ensure all vacancies are filled with high quality teachers. Add in the local demographics with larger cohorts of children currently in our primary schools and the perfect storm of supply and demand could be brewing. 

This is why I am confident, that across the Dartmoor Multi-Academy Trust, we are future proofing our schools and ensuring a high-quality education and experience for our young people. We work in partnership with universities such as Exeter, Plymouth, and Marjon. We provide placements for SCITT (School centred initial teacher training providers) providers based in Plymouth and Exeter. Finally, we also run our own Dartmoor Teacher Training Partnership school direct programme. In the secondary phase this is in conjunction with Marjon and offers the possibility to train in a wide range of subjects. In recent years, Tavistock College has accommodated between 25 and 30 trainee teachers for a variety of different placements. This provides valuable in school experience for those new entrants into the profession. Crucially, it also enhances the experience our young people receive in the classroom. These trainee teachers bring enthusiasm and innovation to their work, whilst being at the forefront of educational research and best practice. Mentoring opportunities abound for our own Trust staff and a genuine conveyor belt of talent is produced. All our trust schools contain teachers who trained within Dartmoor MAT, in many cases this includes TAs, parents and even ex-students. What a fantastic antidote to the recruitment challenges I outlined at the start of this blog. As a Trust, which believes in working collectively together to enhance the life chances of our young people, it is only right that we look within our own communities for the next generation of teachers and educators.  

To find out more about the different teacher training routes available within Dartmoor Teacher Training Partnership, please use the link below: 

About teacher training | Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust (

Phil Ruse 

Vice Principal, Okehampton College