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New report finds most successful education systems use universities to train teachers

14 January 2014

A new report that takes a global look at teacher training casts further doubt on the coalition government's reforms to shift it away from university-based courses, into a school-based programme.

The interim report from Bera (British Educational Research Association) and RSA (The Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce) states that some of the highest-performing education systems, using the examples of Finland and Singapore, 'integrate knowledge from academic study and research with practical experience in the school and classroom'.

UCU said the report validates concerns it has repeatedly raised about the government's move to school-based initial teacher education, through the introduction of its School Direct programme.

In 2014/15, 37% of all initial teacher-training (ITT) places have been allocated to School Direct, up from 12% on last year. School Direct teacher training places have gone up 60% in 2014/15, while university places have gone down 18%.

In England, more than two-thirds of higher education institutions that offer ITT courses had their places cut in 2013/14. The University of Bath and The Open University have decided to close PGCE courses and there is a worry that others will follow.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We've repeatedly warned we cannot lose universities from the equation in teacher education. Now we have proof that partnership between universities and schools is a winning format used by countries which have some of the highest performing education systems.

'As the report explains, it is important trainee teachers understand the rationale behind different types of approach so they can understand why different ways of working are more effective than others in different settings. Being based in a single school does not offer the scope for this sort of learning.

'The successful partnership model needs to be protected. Government should consider the powerful evidence from these high-performing countries and put the brakes on its rush to make our teacher education school-based.'


Last updated: 1 April 2019