Universities play a critical role in supplying a highly qualified teaching workforce for the nation’s schools and making sure our children get the best education possible. The TEAG response re-states higher education’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing standards of teacher education but flags several risks of these proposals.
The response highlights three key tests:
- that reforms improve the quality of newly qualified teachers;
- that we maintain and enhance a strong pipeline of teachers into the profession;
- and that we ensure the most effective use of resources so that as much funding as possible is going into the student learning experience and isn’t being wasted on unnecessary administration.
The consultation response emphasises that any reforms must be implemented well and not just quickly. Changes will need to be properly tested and meet various internal and external quality and compliance processes. Children and schools have suffered significant disruption during the pandemic, and the government’s proposals should not create additional risks or destabilise the supply of high quality teachers when we need them most to support the post-pandemic education recovery.
A key feature of the government’s proposals is that existing providers would need to go through re-accreditation. University teacher education departments are already regulated through Ofsted and the proposals could lead to significant additional bureaucracy. The consultation response highlights that if re-accreditation is deemed absolutely necessary then DfE should take a risk-based approach to minimise bureaucracy and cost for high-quality providers.
In relation to the teacher education curriculum, the response highlights the importance of ensuring this is evidence-based and developed within a broad framework, but not so inflexible that it does not allow tailoring to the needs of individual trainees and different contexts, or undermines the ability to innovate.
Teacher Education Advisory Group (TEAG) is a joint group between Universities UK and GuildHE bringing together universities that deliver Initial Teacher Education.