V-cs lead call for teaching council

October 3, 1997

A new General Teaching Council should take over responsibility for the accreditation of teacher training courses from the Teacher Training Agency, vice chancellors say.

The power to withdraw accreditation from teacher training courses is currently a key feature of the TTA's quality assurance system. La Sainte Union College was forced to close earlier this year after the agency's decision to withdraw accreditation on quality grounds.

But the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals is now adding its voice to education department heads in a call for this power to be handed over to the proposed new council.

In a draft response to a consultation paper on the constitution and responsibilities of a GTC, the CVCP says accreditation should not be handled by a funding body.

It argues: "Accreditation is concerned with ensuring a benchmark of professional competence; it does not assess the differential quality of initial teacher training courses other than to satisfy itself that the courses meet the standards required."

The overall relationship between a GTC and the TTA also needs careful consideration, the CVCP says. Responsibility for teacher recruitment, professional development and the professional framework for teachers should also transfer from the TTA to the GTC, vice chancellors suggest.

There should also be a constructive working relationship between the GTC and the new Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.

Patricia Ambrose, the CVCP's officer responsible for teacher training, said: "There needs to be a much more clearly defined relationship between the bodies responsible for professional training and development."

The Universities Council for the Education of Teachers complains that the Department for Education and Employment's consultation paper fails to address many of these key issues.

"We urge government in casting legislation for a GTC, to avoid the appearance that some have discerned in this consultative document, that the GTC would be more directed towards the control of the profession than towards its professional development," says the UCET's response to the paper.

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