Call for clarity on teacher training
A COLLEGE dean has called for clarity over Government plans to revolutionise teacher training.
Half of all graduate teachers could be trained "on the job" under revolutionary plans announced by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary.
The move could, it is claimed, threaten the future of colleges like UCP Marjon in Plymouth.
From this September there will be more than 900 places on the new school-led School Direct programme – nearly double the expected level.
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The programme will be expanded over the next few years, with up to 10,000 students a year trained by schools that are either offering School Direct places or are full providers of teacher training.
Dr Ian Luke, dean of the faculty of education, health and welfare at UCP Marjon, called for clarity from the Department for Education about what the reforms would mean.
"More than half of training places will be delivered by schools is a very strong statement, but what is not clear is what that actually means. We need the detail to clarify it.
"Our graduate teacher programme is already done in schools and we work directly with the schools.
"We have a great partnership with them.
"We have been told something is coming out but if that's going to impact on next year's places it puts pressure on us.
"There needs to be development time. We will have to design a whole curriculum. A year in advance might seem to be a long time but it isn't."
Each year Marjon takes in about 120 undergraduates and about 100 post-graduate students for primary education training. There are also about 40 people on employment-based graduate training programmes.
There are 120 places on the one-year postgraduate scheme for secondary teachers and 25 on the employment-based initial teacher training.
Dr Luke believed the college was secure. "If it means weeding out poor quality we would be supportive of that. We are in the fortunate position of being rated outstanding by Ofsted."
He said that there were some "incredibly talented" teachers in schools – but pointed out that they had been trained in higher education institutes.
He said only one Plymouth school had applied to be part of School Direct. "Gove is assuming there is going to be an eagerness to grasp this."
A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Many universities have experience in delivering high quality initial teacher training (ITT) programmes and we want to retain that experience and expertise.
"In particular, universities are experienced at developing in-depth subject knowledge that is crucial for a good trainee to become an outstanding teacher.
"Many universities already work closely with their partner schools and this will be entrenched through School Direct. School Direct gives schools the opportunity to recruit their own trainees and draw on the strengths and experience of universities to train them."