26 March 2015
“University education faculties have had a tough time under the coalition and have missed the certainty of centrally planned and funded initial teacher training that was once their exclusive preserve. The School Direct model has put schools in control of teacher training and Teach First has been remarkably successful in attracting talented graduates through its own alternative route.
There is a good argument that the quality of new entrants to teaching has never been higher but the absence of a strategic approach to planning the teaching workforce has resulted in a worrying shortfall in recruits (17% lower now than five years ago). Education faculties (or those that survive the inevitable market shake-out) should be central to the development of the teaching workforce, playing a key role in enhancing classroom practice through applying research and lessons from international innovations. That will require universities to think innovatively about how they develop teachers in partnership with schools.
It will also require government, of whichever hue or hybrid, to manage the teacher training system so it balances local responsiveness and accountability with the strategic approach that’s needed to develop a world-class teaching workforce.”
Paul Woodgates is a higher education expert at PA Consulting Group