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UCU responds to education white paper

18 March 2016 | last updated: 13 April 2016

UCU has said that government should consult carefully on new quality measures for Initial Teacher Training (ITT) to ensure that good providers are not penalised by 'blunt metrics'.

The union was responding to the white paper, Educational Excellence Everywhere, published on Thursday by the Department for Education, which includes several proposals for ITT reform including new 'centres of excellence' and new quality criteria for allocating teacher training places.

UCU said that universities play an important role in teacher training, but warned that new quality criteria would need to be developed carefully. It added that plans for 'centres of excellence' should not divert resources away from other good providers, especially at a time of growing teacher shortages.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Universities across the country have an excellent track record of providing high-quality teacher training, so it is encouraging that the white paper recognises their continued role in developing teachers for the future.

'The government must, however, take a cautious approach to any new quality measures and consult carefully to ensure that good providers are not penalized by blunt metrics, which are too often poor proxies for quality.

At a time when there are growing teacher shortages it would be crazy to see some universities having to cut back on teacher training unnecessarily, so the government must also ensure that plans for centres of excellence do not divert resources away from other good providers.'