Schools to eclipse college training

October 20, 1995

Teacher training colleges and university education departments stand to lose more funding and control to school-based training schemes under Government plans to be unveiled next week.

Phased funding, school-based assessment of trainee teachers, and measures which could pave the way for resources to be switched from bachelor of education courses to postgraduate training programmes, are among the proposals expected in the Teacher Training Agency's report on its funding review.

The TTA, drawing on the conclusions of a study carried out by consultants Coopers and Lybrand, will suggest that funding for teacher training courses in higher education should be phased, with payments made for recruitment, retention, and student achievement - which could include securing a job at the end of the course.

It is expected to propose the re-introduction of the probationary year in school for graduates holding teacher training qualifications. Graduates would have to complete the year before gaining qualified teacher status, rather than acquiring it automatically with the award of a BEd or Postgraduate Certificate in Education. After a year in school, the trainee would be assessed by independent inspectors who would decide whether to award QTS.

And it may lay the ground for new funding rules to encourage institutions to shift resources out of BEd courses and into PGCE or other degree programmes, a move already begun with a circular issued by the TTA and the Higher Education Funding Council for England in the summer.

The measures have raised fears among teacher training heads that the TTA is planning a concerted effort to divert more teacher training support away from higher education and into school-based programmes such as School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (Scitt) courses run by schools consortia.

The Universities Council for the Education of Teachers said it was also expecting in-service training money to be taken out of the hands of the funding council and put under TTA control, which would then hand the cash to schools rather than universities.

Mary Russell, Ucet secretary, said the report's proposals were likely to meet with strong opposition from higher education. "The experience of the Scitt scheme is that even the schools value the involvement of higher education in teacher training, and that the quality of training is enhanced by it," she said.

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