'Domesday' marks for teacher colleges

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THE GOVERNMENT is to draw up a 'Domesday Book' survey of teacher-training colleges, it was announced last night, writes Fran Abrams.

Those which fail to meet satisfactory standards will have to improve in order to keep their government funding.

John Patten, Secretary of State for Education, said government inspectors would look at all training courses for teachers once a new Teacher Training Agency was in place.

He also announced his intention to press ahead with more school-based teacher training despite the rejection of some key aspects of the policy by the House of Lords.

Speaking during the Second Reading debate in the House of Commons on the Education Bill, Mr Patten suggested that the attitudes of many teacher trainers were outdated.

The training of primary teachers was already being examined by Ofsted, the school inspection body, he said, but the new agency would seek out poor standards on secondary teachers courses.

'I don't wish to see any institution accredited to offer teacher training unless it is offering high quality at affordable prices, and giving good value for money,' he said.

Ann Taylor, Labour's education spokeswoman, condemned the move. 'We are seriously worried that this Bill will not enhance teacher education but will actually damage it and threaten the quality of education in the classroom,' she said.

Inside Parliament, page 8