Teacher trainers held to account

September 4, 1998

Vice-chancellors are worried about plans to hold university teacher training departments responsible for the classroom performance of new teachers.

Proposals for a quality framework for teacher training published by the Teacher Training Agency and Ofsted suggest that the performance of newly recruited trainee teachers is a "key indicator" of the quality of the course they have completed.

In its response to the proposals, the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals said it is "particularly concerned at the inference that higher education institutions should be held directly accountable for the performance of new teachers in their first year of work".

There are too many other factors affecting performance, such as the type of school a trainee attends and the level of support they receive, to make such a judgement fair - particularly when quality judgements on teacher training courses can have a direct impact on funding, the CVCP said.

University teacher training departments are already held responsible for school-based teaching practice in courses, despite these being outside their control.

"To be held accountable for the quality of support and development for new teachers in their first year of employment is doubly unfair," the CVCP's response paper said.

The Universities Council for the Education of Teachers described the proposals as "conceptually inadequate".

UCET said a recent Department for Education and Employment document on the induction of new teachers, which stresses the importance of the quality of support provided by schools.

"It contradicts DFEE policy, therefore, to lay the responsibility for newly qualified teachers' performance at the door of ITT partnerships," it said.

The TTA has said the progress made by students to qualify as a teacher would be taken into account.

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