Leader: Help teachers aim high

July 29, 2005

Successive governments, to a more or less vocal extent, have championed school-based teacher training as a better alternative to the traditional system. Universities and colleges have been convenient whipping boys for the perceived ills of primary and secondary education. Education departments have been more successful than many would have predicted at fighting off this challenge, but the latest figures suggest that the tide is turning. Employment-based training offers good prospects of a job in familiar surroundings, rather than facing the lottery of an employment market that is more competitive than for many years.

There are advantages to training in higher education, however. Trainees experience a broader range of schools and may be exposed to more innovative thinking, as well as having the opportunity to exchange ideas with more of their peers. The £3,000 fee for postgraduate courses, as well as for the BEd, will be an obvious disincentive to following this route. Schools are not equipped or willing to take over the entire burden of training, so ministers should move to ensure that this playing field does not become still more uneven. Prospective teachers are no less deserving of fee concessions than health professionals.

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