21 Jan 2015
In their various ways, the three main political parties want an outstanding teacher in every classroom, but leaving the fact that we can't all, by definition, be outstanding, there seems to be a fairly major issue with the training of teachers. Namely, only 14% of them are trained by outstanding ITT providers. So says the Carter review, published yesterday.
Perhaps this contributes to the NAHT's observation that only 34% of schools find it easy to recruit NQTs, and to the fact that 80% of those struggling to recruit NQTs put it down to poor quality of applicants.
So where do heads say NQTs are falling down? The mains areas appear to be classroom management (73% of respondents), subject knowledge (58%) and understanding of pedagogy and child development (56%).
We have reported previously on universities' concerns over school-based ITT - is this the root of the problem? Well, the review says, "It is difficult to draw conclusions about whether one route into teaching is any more effective than another. We have found strengths across all routes." The report makes a series of 18 recommendations, regardless of the type of provider, the main ones of interest for schools can be summarised as:
- Have a core content for ITT across all providers (the report offers a starting point), including subject knowledge, SEND, pedagogy and assessment, and a greater emphasis on research-based pedagogy (and reflected in Teachers Standards); also practical advice on behaviour management
- Make subject knowledge an ingredient of ongoing CPD in schools - especially in primary schools (with suggested DfE funding)
- A central repository of resources and guidance on assessment should be developed
- Better exposure to SEND pupils during ITT
- Boosting the quality and training of mentors, who should have their own set of standards
- Working meaningfully in partnership with other schools and colleges
- The system for qualifying - QTS and so on, needs to be simplified, rationalised and made clearer
- Skills tests need reforming
- Better information is needed about ITT courses, both for applicants and for schools in forming partnerships
- Schools should do more to publicise how to train to be a teacher
The first two points seem to address the observed failings in particular, but the report also makes the point that ITT is initial teacher training: new teachers need a lot of support and we shouldn't really be surprised that 73% of heads say, for example, that new teachers aren't great at classroom management. We can all tell horror stories about our first year of teaching. So, Carter is saying, among other things, that schools need to up the ante if NQTs aren't as good as they had hoped, but the evidence from the OECD seem to suggest that they are alread successful is doing this - for example that classroom discipline is much better in the UK than the average across OECD countries:
So we must be doing something right.
Anyway, the Carter review report is essential reading for anyone involved in leading ITT in schools.
Some figures of ITT students for 2013/14:
All Routes 32,543
Post-graduate (total) 26,218:
School Direct (unsalaried) 6,451
School Direct (salaried) 2,781
Undergraduate (total): 5,938
Teach First 1,387
Troops to Teachers 93
(Gove's £1.9million fund for improving the military ethos, which contributed £2,000 bursaries to ex-military personnel, seems not to have been such good value for money, so far.)
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