Million+, which represents a number of post-92, teacher education-providing universities, launched “A Manifesto for Teacher Education” at the House of Commons yesterday, listing a number of recommendations for improving teaching standards in the UK.
Among the key recommendations are requiring all teachers to have an academic and professional qualification, restoring initial teacher training numbers to universities and adopting a teacher supply model which takes account of the needs of regions and rural areas.
“The reforms to initial teacher training in England have cast doubt over the future of teacher supply and raised concerns about teacher shortages,” the report states.
“The next government must have a plan to secure the future [these issues] – a plan that places universities and the needs of schools at the heart of the system.”
The manifesto adds that that the next government “should ensure that all prospective teachers study for a nationally recognised professional qualification in teaching which is underpinned by university-based education programmes and where a recognised UK university awards the academic qualification”.
Michael Gunn, vice-chancellor of Staffordshire University and chair of Million+, said the “overwhelming majority of parents want teachers to be qualified”.
“The next government risks sleep-walking into a teacher shortage unless there is a change of track,” he said. “This manifesto provides a clear plan to deliver teacher supply and a world-class system of teacher education and career-long professional development.”
Sally Hunt, University and College Union general secretary, welcomed the manifesto. “Unfortunately, reducing the number of teacher training places allocated to universities has led to under-recruitment of trainees in key areas, and destabilised university education departments,” she said.
“The manifesto is right to call for these allocations to be restored so that universities can continue to develop a high-quality teacher education offer.”
Million+ followed up its teacher manifesto with a similar publication for health education on 11 March calling on all political parties to “recognise the role of universities in health and social care education.”
The health manifesto calls on the next government to support the commissioning of additional undergraduate places and post-registration training for nurses, midwives and other health professions.
“The undergraduate and postgraduate courses and career-long staff development programmes that universities offer are crucial to the delivery of the NHS’s Five Year Forward View in England,” said Pam Tatlow, chief executive of Million+.