University teacher trainers have hailed moves by the government to rein in the Teacher Training Agency's powers as the beginning of the end for the controversial agency. And they have quietly welcomed the shock departure of its chief executive, Anthea Millett, writes Phil Baty.
The TTA confounded its critics last week and survived its five-yearly government review with its core functions intact, but ministers agreed that the TTA's remit was "too wide".
The Universities Council for the Education of Teachers expects that the departure of Ms Millett, who announced her retirement last week, will herald a stronger role for higher education.
Ms Millett infuriated trainers in 1997 by saying: "Teacher training is I not an intrinsic part of higher education."
UCET this week highlighted criticism in the review, which expressed "concerns about (the TTA's) style of management" and how it related to its partners and stakeholders.
A spokesperson for UCET said: "We look forward to working with a revised and reformed TTA with the more collaborative approach that this implies."
UCET, however, thinks the review represents a mere stay of execution for the agency. Although the TTA will continue to control recruitment and teacher training, and retain the funding functions that critics hoped would be removed, UCET believes it will soon lose its funding role to the General Teaching Council, to be established next year.
"It is interesting that ministers said the GTC should have no funding functions, but only 'at this stage'," said UCET chairman Mike Newby.
He also seized on comments made by the schools standards minister, Charles Clarke, last week that he could not rule out the fact that the GTC might take on some of the TTA's functions.