Defeat for teacher training proposals

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THE GOVERNMENT'S plans for school-based teacher training were heavily dented yesterday by a two- vote defeat in the House of Lords, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

The setback came during the Committee Stage of the Education Bill, which provides for a national Teacher Training Agency and changes to student unions. Peers voted 123 to 121 for a Labour amendment ensuring schools can only run teacher-training courses in partnership with, and accredited by, higher education institutions.

The amendment was moved by Lord Judd, Labour's education spokesman in the Lords, who said afterwards: 'The House has voted for teacher education, of which training is only a part, as the basis for our teachers to learn their profession, not for the Government's cheap and nasty concept of classroom technicians.'

Ann Taylor, Labour's education spokesperson, said: 'After the embarrassing climbdown over student union reforms, there is nothing left to argue about. John Patten should withdraw this divisive and unnecessary Bill immediately.'

But Baroness Blatch, Minister of State for Education, indicated that the Government would seek to reverse the defeat when the Bill reaches the Commons.