Cambridge merges education arms

March 14, 1997

THE UNIVERSITY of Cambridge is to merge two branches of its education faculty as a result of doubts over the Government's moves to make teacher training more classroom-based.

As part of a strategic plan to "protect the university's position in the field of education" for the year 2000, the institute of education and the department of education will become the school of education in April.

The university's general board reported: "Since the announcement of the Government's intention to implement substantial changes in the provision of initial teacher training we have devoted close attention to the implications of these changes."

Several administrative posts are to go, with a further structural review "after an initial period, to ensure that the staffing is appropriate to the size of the institution", the board said. The directorship of the institute of education, which has been vacant for six months, will go and the institute's advisory committee will be disbanded. Library assistants will be re-employed in the university following the merger of the two libraries.

Donald McIntyre, department of education head, will lead the new school of education. "I am behind the move towards greater partnership between universities and schools in initial teacher training," he said. "But I'm not so persuaded of the wisdom of schools doing it on their own. "Most of the Teacher Training Agency's moves are quite sensible, but the details need further discussion."

Professor McIntyre insisted that the TTA had not forced the changes at Cambridge. "The institute of education was slightly anomalous anyway," he said. "This just makes us more efficient. The general board has given a vote of confidence in the future of teacher training at Cambridge and all our other work."

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