The four people in this photo are a CELTA course in its entirety – the two tutors in the centre, flanked by the two trainees. This was in 2015 and the centre, the MoD’s training academy in Oxfordshire, were keen not to be seen cancelling a course which promoted friendly diplomatic relations. When I sent in the Entry Form, Cambridge replied with ‘Has the course started?’ I was happy to write that we had already begun input and TP, as otherwise I think they may have shut us down. We were confident that those trainees gained more than they lost by not having more peers to watch – oodles of contact time and support from us on a tailor-made course.
More recently, I’ve noticed that numbers on CELTA have often been low of late – in the place I work during the summer, at another Centre in Cambridge, and when I’ve been assessing. A centre in Berlin recently advertised for a tutor, saying that the course would run with four trainees.
Is this a trend? Are there too many CELTA courses on offer in certain regions compared to the demand for them? We each want a piece of the pie, and I wonder whether:
- Centres should compare their dates with other centres’ in the same city/area and try to differentiate, maybe even liaise with each other when planning?
- The comment made by the assessor of my last course, which started with four trainees and with withdrawals, ended with two, is pertinent: ‘maybe centres should avoid running a course when there are this few trainees and one or two of the applicants are weak’
- Cambridge, who currently require only that centres provide ‘a viable training situation’ should come out and tell us what they think of all this, maybe give us a minimum number and avoid approving new centres when there is already sufficient provision in a place
As always, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.