Tables mooted for teacher trainers

November 22, 1996

THE TEACHER Training Agency today published proposals for developing performance tables for all teacher training providers.

The move follows calls from Gillian Shephard, Secretary of State for Education and Employment, for more help; for students in choosing a place for their training, for schools in recruiting newly-qualified teachers, and for institutions in drawing up plans to improve courses.

Ratings will be based on grades awarded by the inspection agency Ofsted following institutional visits; "hard evidence" such as the level of entry qualifications held by students and their success rates in finding a teaching job on completion of the course; students' and employers' views on training provided, gathered through questionnaires; and grades given by Ofsted inspectors to newly-qualified teachers seen during regular visits.

Most of the information will be collected through the new joint Ofsted/TTA quality assessment scheme for initial teacher training, to be unveiled next week.

Institutions have been given until the end of January next year to respond to the proposals. The TTA plans to publish the tables annually, beginning next autumn. However, some grades will be based on information covering a three-year period, "to minimise the effects of exceptional year-on-year variations", the agency said.

Anthea Millett, the TTA's chief executive, said the proposals aimed to give students "more information than they have at present about the nature and quality of provision".

But Mary Russell, secretary of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, said performance tables were "unhelpful" because they could deter mature students from entering teacher training if their local institution received only a mediocre rating.

She also criticised proposals to include entry qualifications and job success rates as evidence for the tables, since these were often beyond the control of institutions.

"Some institutions might be in areas where there are many teacher training providers producing lots of newly-qualified people, but where there are not many jobs," she said.

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