The Carter Review

The review of teacher training was published today with relatively little fanfare. The anticipated proposal to downgrade the PGCE had already been blocked by the Liberal Democrats. The rest of the report was built on a story of success that was not what the Treasury or the ideologically-driven had expected. In summary:

Teacher training is most effective where schools and universities are committed and engaged in partnership.
The actual funding structure (university-led, School Direct, SCITT) is irrelevant.
The content should include that which is found on PGCE courses including pupil development and behaviour management.
Focus weeks are good where students have access to outstanding teachers.
Starting in July is good because students hit the ground running in September.
Skills tests should be reviewed and resource put into ongoing subject enhancement for teachers.
The government should invest more in promoting teaching through its website.
Using eportfolios is a useful way of tracking trainees’ progress.
Greater emphasis should be placed on understanding research.

The fact that the report captures good practice across providers is at the same time both anticlimactic and positive. At the heart of this report is a system that has proved effective in training teachers despite very difficult challenges and has proved robust in adapting to change. As a result, for the foreseeable future pupils in schools will continue to be taught by qualified professionals.

The challenge which was not part of the review is caused by a significant number of schools feeling under too much pressure to be able to engage in training teachers. Until a government deals with that issue by changing the inspection regime and making engagement with training a requirement for an outstanding OfSTED grade, Teaching School Alliances and universities will find creative ways of ensuring the high quality provision written about by Sir Andrew Carter continues.

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