Welcome criticism

June 27, 1997

The Teacher Training Agency's work over the past two years has been high profile and challenging. One of the things that the pamphlet by Pat Mahoney and Ian Hextall (THES, June 20) ignores is the need for new accountability arrangements for teacher training, reflecting the interests of students, teachers and taxpayers - a need which the agency has been established to address. I am not surprised that some have therefore been critical of our work.

We have always been prepared to question orthodoxies and support rigour and high standards. I am delighted that this has been welcomed by many in higher education and schools, whose good practice has formed the basis for the far-reaching reforms we have introduced, including the new initial teacher training national curriculum and standards for the award of qualified teacher status announced this week.

We work closely with many partners, including schools, local education authorities teacher and subject associations and many others. We have had overwhelming support from schools and local authorities over the professional framework of standards and qualifications, including the development of the National Professional Qualification for Headship. Teacher supply and recruitment is an example of an area where we have established extremely productive relationships with higher education, industry and others.

We always ensure that there is wide-ranging and full consultation, and we were in the vanguard of those adopting Nolan principles. We take account of the comments received, publish summaries of consultations and, in response to constructive comment made in the past, now ensure that all responses are made available for scrutiny.

The focus of all our work is the need to raise levels of pupil achievement. We will continue to do all that we can in support of that. We will not compromise on standards or stroke egos to seek popularity. And, if this has made the TTA a difficult child to live with, I can promise no let up.

Anthea Millett, Chief executive

Teacher Training Agency

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