Professional education

​​Universities are committed to the renewal of the teaching profession through provision of excellent training programmes which produce the teachers our education system needs.

female teacher smiling while standing next to a whiteboard 

We want government to recognise the important role universities play in training and educating teachers, and to support them in their provision of teacher education programmes, co-delivered with partner schools, and ensure their continued viability.

Reforms and risks to tea​​​cher education

Since 2010, successive government reforms to how university initial teacher training programmes are delivered in England have affected both the scale and scope of university provision. In some cases, the rapid pace of reform has meant that the viability of courses has also come into question.

The change in the teacher training delivery model towards a school-led system has helped strengthen many university-school partnerships. However, we are concerned that a rapid pace of change continues to affect universities' ability to plan strategically in this area of their provision. This is compounded by an uncertainty over what the landscape might look like in the future. Such an environment does not work in the interests of schools, applicants, universities or teacher supply.

Our goals for teacher ​​​education

We want government to keep training provision viable by enabling universities and all other teacher training providers to plan their expected levels of student intake over a three-year period rather than one, by granting minimum guaranteed allocations. Continuing to adopt a short-term approach to recruitment risks making some teacher training provision unsustainable.

Universities are a fundamental partner within the teacher education landscape in England. Their teacher training faculties are staffed predominantly by qualified and experienced teachers, who bring with them significant levels of expertise. The sector has a long-standing record of working with schools to successfully train and deliver tens of thousands of trainee teachers each year.

It is vital that all initial teacher training providers can operate in an environment in which they are confident that their provision is sustainable, in the interests of securing a sufficient, high-quality supply of teachers in the years to come.

Universities UK submission to the Economic Affairs Committee inquiry into tertiary education

31 October 2017
Universities UK submission to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the economics of higher education, further education and vocational training

HERB – Lords second reading

Parliamentary briefing: Ensuring sufficiency of supply in trainee teachers in England

20 March 2017
Briefing for parliamentarians setting out the important role universities play in the training of new teachers, with recommendations about how to address some current issues with teacher recruitment, retention and professional development.

Universities UK’s response to the government consultation, 'Schools that work for everyone'

12 December 2016
We support the government’s wish to raise standards and attainment in the school system and in doing so improve social mobility. This can be achieved through a number of partnership and engagement mechanisms with schools.

Training new teachers

2 March 2016
Submission of written evidence from Universities UK to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee inquiry on ‘Training New Teachers’

Inquiry on the supply of teachers

20 November 2015
Submission of written evidence from Universities UK to the House of Commons Education Committee’s inquiry on the Supply of Teachers

Report cover

The impact of initial teacher training reforms on English higher education institutions

30 October 2014
Analysing recent trends in recruitment following the changes and discusses the specific impact on institutions.

Initial teacher training briefings

7 November 2013
Briefings expressing universities' concerns about the impact of the next round of initial teacher training allocations on their ability to sustain teacher training provision



Pathways and flexibility are key to supporting lifelong learning

18 December 2020
Dave Phoenix, Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University, argues that if we are to facilitate lifelong learning and avoid ‘educational dead ends’, universities must play a core role in qualification design.