Patrick Smith, Associate Dean (ITE) in the School for Education Futures
This blog post by Patrick Smith is in relation to the Government's new "School Direct" policy for teacher recruitment and the criticisms of it by senior education figures, as reported here:http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/teacher-training-warning-to-mps/2006069.article
The recent and significant change in how we train teachers in England, introduced by the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove, is not well thought through and could have a significant impact on teacher supply.
The notion that teacher training is “done in the universities” is unfounded, as is the notion that schools and colleges are not directly involved. The typical PGCE which has operated in most universities for many years comprises of 60 days of centre based training (some of which is done in schools and colleges) and 120 days of school/college based training.
The PGCE route is the largest route into teaching at this current time and there are multiple ways of training to be a teacher which is to be applauded.
Universities welcome closer involvement of schools and colleges in the training of teachers.
At the University of Wolverhampton we set up a Teacher Education Advisory Group (TEAG) in May 2012 to advise, support and challenge us in the work that we do. TEAG is comprised of head teachers across the region who have a real interest in the training of teachers, and we are beginning to develop new and innovative ways of working together thanks to their help eg.via short and long term secondments of staff from school to university and vice versa.
School Direct could undermine much of the good work schools, colleges and universities have done for many years. It seeks to disempower the university’s role and hand over the training to schools and colleges.
However, as Qualified Teacher Status is normally recommended by the universities, it is the universities that are culpable to Ofsted when they come calling. A double whammy!
Whilst there are a number of schools and colleges that are able to set up robust teacher training programmes independently of universities, there are many more that are not able to do this. There will be unsteadiness in the system as schools quite rightly ebb and flow the number of teachers they can train each year, hence destabilising teacher supply for our schools and children’s learning.