Tough teacher talk for v-cs

November 24, 2000

Universities and schools are failing to work together to produce the type of professional teacher government reforms demand, according to a report from vice-chancellors and principals.

Standards have risen in initial teacher training as a result of partnerships between universities and schools but "excessive bureaucracy, excessive competition and conservatism" are still inhibiting the system, according to Higher Education and the New Professionalism for Teachers .

John Furlong, of the school of social sciences at Cardiff University and author of the report, said: "What those in higher education must now do is to convince government and others that they are essential in realising the new professionalism."

Professor Furlong also says that while much continuing professional development is market driven and innovative, much "is uncoordinated, with widely varying forms of provision and little real quality control".

He says that theory and practice are too often "crudely juxtaposed" in England and Wales. In Scotland, however, qualifications, such as the Scottish Qualification for Headteachers, have been developed that involve strong practical elements as well as a higher education contribution.

In Northern Ireland, a common competency framework has been developed to cover initial education, induction and early professional development.

"Unlike its English equivalent... the framework explicitly aims to combine knowledge, values and personal dispositions with the development of practical skills," says the report, a response to the 1998 green paper Teachers; Meeting the Challenge of Change . It was commissioned by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals and the Standing Conference of Principals.

Baroness Warwick, CVCP chief executive, said: "This report spells out some tough lessons for all those involved in the development of the teaching profession."

Figures released by the Teacher Training Agency show recruitment to teacher training has risen for the first time since 1992-93. There has been an 8 per cent rise on last year, with 28,000 trainees recruited to date. Recruitment to secondary school teacher training is however, 13 per cent below target, despite being 6 per cent up on last year. Primary recruitment was above target.

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