Key recommendations for schools to be aware of:
- All ITT providers to be re-accredited during Spring 2022 to be allowed to continue training from September 2022, while our courses are open for recruitment (it is not clear what will happen to trainees who have gained places on those courses which are not successfully re-accredited).
- All one-year teacher training programmes to be 38 weeks long, with 28 weeks in school (up from a current minimum of 24 weeks), with no further funding available. Teacher training is already hugely under-funded in comparison to provision for doctors or nurses.
- These 28 weeks must include an extra 20 day ‘intensive placement’, during which time trainees will be in school, in groups, being ‘immersed’ in outstanding practice. There is no indication as to how this will work on the ground, or whether schools will be able to accommodate these placements.
- There will be new ‘Lead Mentors’, going round to ensure that school-based mentors understand their roles and offer the appropriate support for trainees in school. (I am not sure how this differs from what our university tutors do currently and have always done).
- Every school will have to have at least one member of staff trained on the new NPQLTD (‘Leading Teacher Development’), which doesn’t yet exist. This is not a bad proposal on its own merits; however, again, it is not costed and will certainly inhibit smaller schools from being able to take on an individual trainee or two – which is a large proportion of the trainee population.
The most insidious aspect of this review is the suggestion that there is one body of accepted research and pedagogy which all training providers will be obliged to promote. The stifling of academic freedom and enquiry is highly dangerous. Oxford and Cambridge Universities, amongst many others, are threatening to walk away from teacher training because of these proposals which they have described as ‘Stalinist’. Much of the development in pedagogy and understanding of how children learn comes through research undertaken by university education departments, our own included.
We pride ourselves on the way our courses encourage critical thinking and critical reflection amongst our trainees. In addition to being taught the key current principles and doctrines for their phase or subject, they are encouraged to engage with the wider body of research and alternative viewpoints in an informed manner, in order to be able to interrogate and evaluate new fads and demands with a critical eye – an essential set of skills for any teacher.
Please ensure that you respond to the consultation – the voices of schools should be heard loudest.