Gove launches review of teacher training courses

Education secretary Michael Gove has announced an independent review of the quality and effectiveness of initial teacher training courses.

May 1, 2014

The review, which will report to Mr Gove by the end of the year, will look across the full range of ITT courses available and aims to find out what “defines effective ITT practice”, how “effective” the current system is and recommend where improvements can be made.

It will also look for recommendations “on ways to improve choice in the system by improving the transparency of course content and method”.

The review, whose panel will be appointed in the coming weeks, is to be chaired by Andrew Carter, headteacher of South Farnham School and ITT lead on the Teaching Schools Council.

“While we have already taken steps to improve teacher training, including through the popular School Direct route, it is right that we look at how we can ensure all courses are providing the best possible training,” said Mr Gove.

Mr Carter added that because of the “significant change” in education since 2010, it was “paramount that trainees are prepared to face the demands of the 21st-century classroom”.

The review comes in the aftermath of the rapid rise of the government’s School Direct policy, under which trainees are recruited directly by schools rather than first completing a course of higher study. The resulting loss of postgraduate teacher training places allocated to universities has left some institutions with huge losses of funding and led some to abandon postgraduate certificates of education altogether.

James Noble-Rogers, executive director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET), welcomed the review but added that he would like it to additionally cover “either the length of initial teacher education programmes or how to secure better synergy between ITT and early professional development”.

He added that he would expect the university sector to be “fully involved” with the review process and that there would be “no pre-conceptions” as to which is the best route into teaching.

“The outcome of any review should not result in too much prescription in regards the content of ITT,” Mr Noble-Rogers said. “In a market-driven system, consumers (be they trainees or schools) should, subject to consistency with national frameworks, be able to choose the course content that best meets their needs.”

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