Initial Teacher Education Under Threat from Government Policy
We, the undersigned, note with concern that places for Initial Teacher Education
on PGCE courses in universities have been drastically cut this year and will be
further reduced in 2013 -14. This government policy, which places
responsibility for ITE on schools, via the ‘School Direct’ model, is an abdication of responsibility for the planned provision of an adequate supply of teachers across the country. It is an ideologically driven policy, based on a doctrinaire belief in market forces and fundamental misconceptions about the nature of teaching and about current, successful and well-established routes into teaching.
Teachers are professionals who need to be research-informed critical thinkers. There is abundant evidence that student teachers develop most effectively where they are able to draw on the distinctive contribution of both teachers and lecturers in education departments. In contrast, government policy promotes a view of teaching as a craft and student teachers as apprentices.
In addition, government policy will:
· force schools and universities into open competition for student teacher places, despite Ofsted’s evidence that there is more effective teacher education in the current system of university-led partnerships with schools;
· result in the closure of university education departments and redundancies of experienced staff with devastating effects on the quality of teacher education, educational research and innovation;
· replace an effective national network of provision with an incoherent, inefficient system that has no parallel in the rest of the world;
· remove busy, dedicated teachers from their core role of working with children and young people;
create a crisis in schools at a time when the rise in the birthrate means there will be a national need for significant increases in teacher supply.
We call on the Secretary of State for Education to secure the future
of education departments and their role in the education of tomorrow’s
teachers, recognising the value and efficiency of university-led partnerships