Opinion Former Article

NUT: “In no other profession would it be expected for students to be thrown in at the deep end at the very beginning of their training"

Commenting on Michael Gove’s announcement about School Direct, a school-led teacher training programme, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Trainee teachers not only need practical training but the time and space to develop and exchange ideas on best practice in education. It is therefore vitally important that graduates continue to have part of their training in universities and colleges. Once in a classroom there is little time for the reflection on pedagogy which is so important to ensuring the quality of trainee teachers.

“Challenging schools need support and funding, not just a few well paid teachers. Most of the problems that pupils face come from outside the classroom and these issues need to be addressed. The ratio of trainee teachers in challenging schools would also give cause for concern. Challenging schools need highly experienced teachers working alongside and supporting early career teachers and trainees when working in a highly pressurised environment.

“In no other profession would it be expected for students to be thrown in at the deep end at the very beginning of their training. Already there are issues of concern about the quality of support that students on school-based initial teacher training courses receive from providers, and the unrealistic workload demands placed upon them. The introduction of School Direct may further exacerbate the problems and drive trainees away from teaching rather than encouraging them to progress.

“Investment in high quality teacher training closely linked to universities, and the expertise which they can provide, is what is required to ensure we have the best qualified teachers for our children and young people”.

END pr99-2012
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