Judge and jury out on teachers

September 25, 1998

Mike Newby, chair of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, said: "We have no objection in principle, they can be helpful to institutions, but if they are used to make league tables they could give a distorted picture."

Professor Newby emphasised the need to take time in coming to understand the profiles before the TTA started using the tables to take funding decisions. He warned there was a danger that institutions would play to tables that "don't necessarily equate to the quality of teacher training".

The tables were broadly welcomed by senior figures in university education departments, although many reservations were expressed and the tables likened to a "beauty competition".

Hywel Thomas, of the University of Birmingham's school of education, said he was "very comfortable with the notion of public accountability and information on teacher training" but warned "the devil is in the detail".

A commonly expressed worry was that judging student performance in schools will not take into account the challenges they face. One head of department explained: "Teaching in Manchester will be more challenging than teaching in Kendal."

David Blake, dean of education and social studies at Chichester Institute, said: "The more information the better. The question mark is over projected use."

Mr Blake questioned the policy objective of rating the A-level scores of the students, warning there was the possibility institutions "may overlook a good student with low A levels".

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