Are universities still the best places to train our teachers?
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Thursday 11 November 2010
Excellent teacher training is essential. However, the new austerity and the forthcoming Education White Paper are making the teacher education sector understandably nervous.
A possible scenario is that in the White Paper, Michael Gove will call for a shift in teacher training from being run by universities in partnership with schools to being mainly school-based. The school-university partnerships in this country are some of the most advanced in the world and schools are much more involved in teacher education than in many other countries. If the White Paper further strengthens the involvement of schools, and encourages more schools to take part in teacher education, we will support it. But we have concerns.
We would be concerned about any wholesale transfer of funding, and therefore accountability and responsibility, to schools because, first of all, the current system works well. Ofsted rates almost 85 per cent of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) provision as good or outstanding. A similar proportion of newly qualified teachers (from a sample of 14,000) say the training they receive is relevant and of high quality. A fundamental change to the structure of teacher education must not put this quality at risk.
What will schools think? There is already a mixed market in teacher education, with a number of school-based programmes such as Teach First and the Graduate Training Programme in place. We welcome this. Universities are involved in many of these alternative routes into teaching. But what about schools that are unwilling or unable to train teachers? Are they to have responsibility foisted upon them? Or will they not be able to recruit newly qualified staff? And will schools that treasure the relationships they have with universities over the training and ongoing professional development of their staff have to rethink the nature of those relationships?
Under the current funding arrangements, there is a direct link between the quality of training (as measured by Ofsted) and the number of student teachers each ITT provider is allowed to recruit. This has resulted in a year-on-year rise in the number of teachers trained by the top providers. This would not happen under a purely market-driven approach. The well-documented added value that university involvement in teacher education brings could vanish: student teachers would no longer have access to university infrastructure and support; they would lose the valuable time they have away from school to reflect and share experiences with those working in contrasting schools; there would be less scope to introduce new ideas (and Government policies) into schools through universities; and the link between ITT and high quality continuing professional development and research would disappear.
We will work with the Government to ensure moves to further embed the role of schools in teacher education work properly. But the proposals must be properly thought through and not driven by clichéd misconceptions about teacher education.
We welcome some of Michael Gove's proposals. We recognise the contribution that Teach First, in partnership with universities, is making. We support moves to raise the status of teaching through an increase in entry requirements, which will improve the perception of teaching as a profession. This could be supported by making it a master's-level profession. At the least, we must ensure teachers are entitled to structured early professional development that builds on and complements initial training.
We're holding our annual conference this week to bring together experts from across the world to discuss training teachers. We are looking forward to working with schools and the Government to meet challenges and capitalise on new opportunities.
James Noble-Rogers is executive director of the Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers. www.ucet.ac.uk
Lucy Hawking: Stephen Hawking's daughter writes impassioned open letter to Katie Hopkins about rights of disabled people
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
How the language you speak changes your view of the world
General election live: Russell Brand endorses Labour (except in Scotland and Brighton)
Russell Brand backs Ed Miliband: 'You gotta vote Labour'
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 Russell Brand backs Ed Miliband: 'You gotta vote Labour'
- 4 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Nursery Manager is required t...
£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windo...