- "Extra bursaries for primary maths teachers and trainee teachers who work in the most challenging schools.
- "Schools will soon get more of a say in how teachers are trained, including taking on new trainee teachers themselves.
- "By the end of the Parliament we expect that as many as 10,000 students a year could be trained by schools that are either offering Schools Direct places or are full providers of teacher training."
According to Mr Gove:
"And while we anticipate that the majority of schools participating will want a strong partnership with a higher education institution, we expect that some of the very best schools will want to become their own provider .
"So there will be a spectrum of engagement for those schools that want to get involved. Some schools may not want to get involved at all. Many will want to participate in School Direct having the opportunity to recruit staff and develop training programmes with the support and assistance of existing providers. Others will want to run the whole show taking control of the process from start to finish.
"As these programmes grow, more and more schools will be able to recruit, train and hire their own teachers; working in partnership with other schools and top-quality ITT providers to give new teachers the best possible start to their careers.
"New recruits will learn and train in schools, working with experienced teachers and putting their lessons into practice from day one.
"And they will be recruited with the expectation that they will be employed at the school at the end of their training something which the traditional, university-based PGCE could never offer."
This may sound exciting to many potential teachers and to many schools, but we need to sound a note of caution about throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
While employment at the end of training is certainly desirable, but "the expectation" is not a guarantee and there are complex issues surrounding the number of teachers this country needs to train and employ.
"There is currently a good balance between theory and practice in initial teacher training. Students studying to become teachers at higher education institutions spend a significant part of their time learning the practicalities of teaching on school placements.
"Improvements could be made to course content and to the selection of students, but it is a model that has served us well and continues to do so. There have been a number of employment-based routes into teaching for quite a long time. This is nothing new. There have also been designated 'training schools'. These models have served well in producing limited numbers of trained teachers.
"To move the bulk of initial teacher training onto schools would add a significant burden to the work of schools.
"We must not forget the purpose of schools to educate their pupils. Focus on this propose has already been lost in recent years with additional duties and responsibilities being placed on schools, many of which have neither the capacity, resources nor desire to take on the burden of additional responsibilities.
"There is undoubtedly an attraction in 'growing your own teachers' but the practical difficulties of ensuring equality and quality of provision across a wide range of individual training institutions would be difficult, bureaucratic and expensive.
"There is great danger in destroying a system which works well and could be made to work better. Once it has gone it won't be brought back if the alternative proves less effective."
Last year, on offering higher levels of bursaries to teachers with first-class degrees in certain subjects, he commented:
"You don't have to have a first to be an excellent teacher. There are many excellent teachers out there with thirds and plenty of people with firsts who are brilliant academically but would be hopeless at passing on that knowledge to children or inspiring them to take interest in a subject.
"It’s the aptitude to be a teacher that is important here, along with a desire and ability to work with children.
"It would be wrong to exclude some potentially excellent and inspiring teachers on the basis of their degree classification.
"If degree classifications are so important, why are the free schools allowed to employ unqualified teachers? What is the logic of requiring some teachers to be qualified while allowing others to teach without qualifications?
"The proposals to offer different levels of bursaries according to class of degree and subject specialism are biased, devalue arts and humanities subject specialists and could kill off subjects such as music and RE.
"If the overall aim is to enhance quality, then the same incentive should be offered to all who meet the necessary standards."
The DfE tempts schools with the prospect that:
However, isn't there the danger that if trainees are trained in a particular way by a school or group of schools to meet their needs and ways, those teachers will only be able to "be employed within the group of schools in which they were trained"? How portable will that training be?
In its official response to the DfE's consultation 'Training our next generation of outstanding teachers' (July 2011), Voice responded to following question:
"Do you think that it is right to give more initial teacher training places to providers that are working in close university/school partnerships?"
'Yes. Such partnerships are essential to ensure a correct balance between theoretical and practical input. The proposals, in giving more power to schools, risk promoting the latter at the expense of the former.'
In conclusion, to the question:
"What more would you change to improve initial teacher training?"
'There is a need for more cohesion and coherence within the system. Much good work has been accomplished in recent years through workforce reforms which have established pathways for teaching assistants and other support staff to gain QTS via the 'foundation degree plus first degree top-up plus GTP/RTP' route
'The current proposals also risk marginalising primary school teaching, penalising school-leaver applicants, devaluing arts and humanities specialists and distracting schools from their main mission of educating children. Joined up thinking is needed to ensure that any changes made to teacher training avoid such negative unintended consequences and promote greater cohesion, coherence and consistency.'
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