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Government reforms to shift teacher training from university to classroom could ruin profession, warns UCU

24 November 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Radical government reforms to shift teacher training away from universities and focus it in schools could 'ruin the profession', warned UCU today.

The union was voicing its concerns ahead of a white paper due today that is expected to detail education secretary Michael Gove's plans to move the funding and responsibility for the vast majority of teacher training out of universities and into schools.
 
At present more than 33,000 people are trained in universities and just 5,000 in schools. The government's plans would radically alter that with initial teaching training for primary and secondary levels concentrated in schools.

'These plans sound like a rehash of the eccentric and failed policies of earlier Conservative ministers and have the potential to ruin the profession.'
Sally Hunt

UCU said that many schools are already working in successful partnerships with universities and this collaborative approach is proven to produce high-quality training. OFSTED rates the quality of some 85% of teacher training as being either 'good' or 'outstanding', while every year, 85% of trainees rate their training as 'good' or 'very good'.
 
The union added that many schools are already reluctant, or unable, to take part in teacher training programmes and asked if they would be forced to train their own and if not, where would they recruit their teachers from?
 
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Contrary to Mr Gove's assertion that teaching is a "craft" learned through simple observation of others at work, there is much theory and research behind the profession, enriching it. Our members in teacher training departments in colleges and universities have a breadth of expertise and experience which would be lost in these crazy reforms along with hundreds of jobs.
 
'Many schools that are involved in teacher education value the partnership they have with universities and would not relish the responsibility and accountability that would come with having to take the lead role in training the next generation. These plans sound like a rehash of the eccentric and failed policies of earlier Conservative ministers and have the potential to ruin the profession.'

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