Are NQTs the “best trained workforce ever”?

23 Sep

Voice has published its response to the Carter review of initial teacher training (England): call for evidence

In its response, Voice comments:

“Effective ITT (we actually prefer the term Initial Teacher Education, as we view the process of becoming a teacher as a process of professional formation, involving a broad-based educational process, rather than a narrow craft-based approach) is that system which prepares, enables and empowers student teachers to become successful in the workplace by equipping them with the necessary skills, knowledge, understanding and awareness.”

A successful system will develop professional, emotional and personal resilience… Given the proportion of NQTs leaving the profession, this is a key issue for judging the quality and appropriateness of current education and training.

“This is contradicted by the headline view, presented by the DfE and Ofsted, that the current system is delivering new recruits of the highest quality, an ideological, philosophical and pedagogical position which is particularly difficult to define and sustain given the fast-changing landscape of the educational environment, characterised by the diminishing influence of local authorities, the constriction of the maintained sector, the fragmentation of state education and the burgeoning of quasi -autonomous and ‘market-facing’ arrays of educational establishments, such as academies, free schools, UTCs and studio schools.”

“..the headline pronouncements of Government that we now have the best trained workforce ever. Notwithstanding the possibility that this represents politically-motivated spin, it cannot be denied that state-funded schools (even though many of these are no longer maintained by local authorities) are showing year-on-year improvements, although whether these improvements are sustainable in the new quasi-autonomous models of school referred to above is proving to be increasingly questionable.

“Against this backdrop of an apparent trajectory of continuing improvement, the experience of individual student teachers and NQTs is that many of them struggle and end up le aving the profession early

“It is, therefore, difficult to determine whether the current system is adequately preparing new teachers or whether those who become successful teachers would have succeeded anyway. The significant financial incentives which have been offered to attract very able candidates only to lose them shortly after (or even before) they have completed their education and training is an issue of particular concern.”

Improvements that could be made, include
  • ensuring that ITT (ITE) includes an element of work/life balance, including an ability to identify stress and stressors;
  • emphasis on managing workload;
  • developing professional, emotional and personal stamina;
  • a focus on developing the aspiring teacher as a role model within the school and community;
  • all student teachers should be given enhanced opportunities to develop SEN/D skills, and all should have at least one placement in a special school or working with SEN/D learners within a mainstream school;
  • behaviour management skills should be instilled in all student teachers;
  • all candidates should be educated to adopt a flexible approach to management;
  • student placements should only take place in schools where management is sound and of high quality;
  • no student teachers should be placed in schools which have significant staff turnover;
  • student teachers should be coached rather than abandoned;
  • there should be a renewed commitment to the teaching of child development;
  • all student teachers should receive skills training in managing others and dealing with conflict and friction in the workplace;
  • all student teachers should be taught how to articulate their views and express their expertise in the workplace;
  • reflective practice and evidence-based practice should be encouraged;
  • greater consistency across providers is required;
  • there needs to be absolute transparency regarding workload and what is acceptable; and
  • tutors and mentors working with students should be working and leading in schools on a regular basis.

Read Voice’s response in full.

Do let us know your thoughts and experiences…
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