Would-be state school teachers to be trained in independent schools

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The Independent Online

Would-be state school teachers will be trained in some of Britain’s top independent schools, it emerged today.

At least 18 independent schools have applied to become dedicated “training schools” under the Government’s plan to introduce on-the-job training for all new teaching staff.

Leaders of the independent Schools Council have had talks with ministers following Education Secretary Michael Gove’s announcement that training should be transferred from teacher training colleges to the classroom – to and successfully pressed for their inclusion in the scheme.

One advantage would be they will be able to offer jobs to the most highly qualified – although there will be no compulsion to offer jobs to trainees on completion of their training.

On the other hand, it could give both potential state and independent school teachers a valuable insight into the workings of the two sectors.

In an interview with The Independent, David Lyscom, chief executive of the Independent Schools council, said: “We have a keen interest in what happens in the state sector and we feel we have a lot to offer in terms of valuable experience in our schools and our teachers could get valuable experience in state schools.

“That was the first point I made on hearing of the proposals that I hoped this was all going to be made available to our schools to participate and the answer was ‘yes, it does’

“Obviously a teacher can train with a state school and go to work in the private sector and the other way round.”

Some private schools, though, will be reluctant to take part in the scheme for fear that parents who have paid fees will object to their children being taught by trainees.

So far officials from the National College for of Leadership of Schools has had 18 applications from the independent sector – and around 900 from state schools.

“Teaching schools will play a central role in identifying the school leaders of the future and supporting them throughout their careers.” said Steve Munby, chief executive of the National College.

“The level of interest we’ve already seen, including from the independent sector, shows just how much talent there is in our schools waiting to be tapped.”

The schools selected as “training schools” will come from those ranked as “outstanding” in inspection reports.

Mr Lyscom also predicted a growing interest amongst independent school pupils in opting for overseas universities in anticipation of the rise in tuitions fees to up to £9,000 a year from September 2012.

Richard Cairns, head of Brighton College, said: “There definitely is a big push on from overseas universities to recruit our students,

“We’re getting many more students looking at the United States.

“We used to get students who perhaps didn’t make Oxford and Cambridge looking at options like Harvard and Yale. Now we’re getting students who would comfortably get into, say, Bristol and Durham

“They’re thinking: ‘If I’m a strong sportsman, perhaps I could get a scholarship to study in the States.”

The college is making a special point of spelling out overseas options to students.

The move follows the decision by one school, Hockerill Anglo-European School, a comprehensive in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire,highlighted in The Independent earlier this year to appoint a special adviser to counsel pupils on overseas options.