Oxbridge teacher training tops table

July 23, 2004

Cambridge University has beaten Oxford University to the top of an independently compiled teacher-training league table.

The success of Cambridge's education department follows its merger with Homerton College, which helped it rise from 11th place two years ago to third last year and first in 2004.

It is the first time Cambridge has moved ahead of Oxford, which has topped the league for seven years. The table is put together using statistics from the Teacher Training Agency by Alan Smithers and Pamela Robinson, who head Liverpool University's Centre for Education and Employment Research.

The rankings, based on the qualifications of trainee teachers, Ofsted ratings and employment statistics, are dominated at the top by Russell Group universities.

The only new universities in the top ten are the University of Central England, which rose from from 31st last year to seventh this year, and Staffordshire University's small and specialist training of business and economics students, which came third.

The bottom three positions are occupied by London Metropolitan University, South Bank University and Bradford University, which plummeted this year due to an unfavourable primary inspection and a drop in the qualifications of its recruits.

Also surprisingly low, ranked 62nd out of 74, is the London Institute of Education, often considered a leader in the field. This was due to a low number of trainees shown to be entering teaching. But the institute argued that it received a poor response to the employment survey this year.

Cambridge and Oxford's top placings owe much to the high entry qualifications of their trainees and excellent Ofsted ratings. But they find themselves well down the rankings for employment returns, which are headed by new universities including UCE, Wolverhampton, Anglia Polytechnic and Leeds Metropolitan.

The tables show that teacher training is becoming increasingly diversified.

Nearly 12 per cent of trainees enter through employment-based training, organised by schools, with nearly 4 per cent coming from the longer-running school-centred schemes.

Trainees are also getting older. More than half of entrants are now at least 25 years old.

Professor Smithers said: "I think it may be a healthy development. People are taking time to discover who they are before committing themselves to teaching. It means they can bring some experience of life to the classroom."

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