Gove shifts teacher training from academy to schools

The government has set out plans to radically reform teacher training.

November 24, 2010

A White Paper presented to the House of Commons today by Michael Gove, the education secretary, includes plans to shift the focus of teacher training from universities to schools.

It says that “too little teacher training takes place on the job” and proposes the creation of a national network of “teaching schools” based on the model of teaching hospitals.

Mr Gove said he would be inviting all university education departments to “showcase the best in teacher training” by moving to a “lab-school” model similar to the one employed in Finland.

The White Paper says that such a move would “act as a link between teaching and the latest academic research and innovation”.

Mr Gove said that great teaching was a mix of academic and “emotional” intelligence, and working with children and exceptional teachers would enable trainees to grasp this fact.

However, Mr Gove’s Labour shadow, Andy Burnham, drew attention to a report released yesterday by the schools inspectorate Ofsted.

It says that more outstanding initial teacher-training courses are delivered by higher education-led partnerships than school-centred initiatives.

Mr Burnham accused the government of basing its decision on cost, not quality.

The education secretary responded by citing research carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research that supports the efficacy of teaching schools.

Other reforms outlined in the White Paper include investment to double the number of graduates entering teaching through the Teach First programme, as well as plans for a new programme, Teach Next, to attract people from other professions into the discipline.

Graduates in strategic subjects such as science and mathematics will also be given financial incentives to enter teaching.

As expected, the paper confirms plans to cease government funding for initial teacher training for graduates who do not have at least a 2:2 degree.

Responding to the publication of the White Paper, the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers said it was “interested” in the concept of training schools.

“The training-school model should build on the highly effective partnerships that already exist between universities and schools. Any moves to strengthen such partnerships could be welcome,” it said.

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