X Close

Institute of Education Blog

Home

Expert opinion from academics at the UCL Institute of Education

Menu

School based trainee teachers seek more, not less, of a role for universities

Blog Editor, IOE Digital10 September 2021

Jane Tillin.

The Government’s Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Market Review has received widespread criticism from universities and school leaders. Their concerns include the prescriptive nature of the proposals and implications for the quality of teacher education and school partnerships. There are concerns that the proposed model promotes professional compliance rather than autonomy and further marginalises universities’ role in new teachers’ learning. Now that we have heard from universities and school leaders, where are the voices of the student teachers themselves?

My new study sought to understand the perspectives of primary and early years teachers who were completing a significant employment-based ITT programme at the IOE. The study examined trainee perspectives on the roles of the scheme’s three partnership organisations in their learning and in turn consider the implications for (more…)

What does it mean to teach a subject? Not what the ITT Market Review suggests

Blog Editor, IOE Digital9 September 2021

Mark Hardman.

Why do we learn all those different subjects at school? Perhaps it is because I’m a teacher educator and I have school-aged children myself, that I get asked this at parties more than most. Thankfully, I am able to maintain polite conversation on this topic because I have spent time in scholarly discussions with colleagues, both as part of the Subject Specialism Research Group at the IOE, as well as within a network with colleagues in Finland and Sweden concerned with subject-specific teacher education.

One of the most compelling arguments for learning about subjects in schools is that it enables people to understand different ways of thinking – how science, history, geography, religious education or any other subject gives a knowledge base from which to learn and understand the world. For example, I would say that my own specialism, physics, is about developing models which help explain and predict phenomena in the world. It has less to say about human relations or ethics, which draw on other forms of knowledge that might be (more…)

The Core Content Framework and the fallacy of a teacher training ‘curriculum’

Blog Editor, IOE Digital2 September 2021

Clare Brooks.

One of the controversies to arise from the discussions about the government’s ITT market review is the role and place of a government mandated curriculum for initial teacher education.

In 2019 the government introduced its ITT Core Content Framework (CCF). This was promoted as a minimum entitlement for trainees, and as representing the best evidence for what teacher training programmes should contain (The claim that the CCF is based on the “best evidence” is highly contestable). The Ofsted ITE Inspection Framework emphasises fidelity to the CCF and the Market Review recommendations would reinforce this as the central point of teacher education programmes. This highlights the question of the value and efficacy of a mandated curriculum for teacher
education, at least one in the form of the CCF.

What a new teacher needs to know
Teachers require a combination of practical knowledge, sometimes referred to as skills, and (more…)

Teacher education: to ‘build back better’ we should start from the sound foundations already in place

Blog Editor, IOE Digital14 July 2021

In early July the Department for Education published the report of its Market Review of Initial Teacher Training and launched a consultation on its proposals. Many university providers have voiced their concerns at the proposals, one of the most forthright being the University of Cambridge. Higher education bodies have spoken out alongside, including the Russell Group and the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET).

At the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) we have also registered our disappointment at the recommendations the report puts forward, recommendations that we, like many others, believe risk eroding the quality of Initial teacher education (ITE) as well as endangering teacher supply.

The IOE was founded in 1902 as the London Day Training College for Teachers: teacher education has sat at the heart of what we do (more…)

A new Institute of Teaching? ‘Flagship’ teacher education is already here

Blog Editor, IOE Digital3 February 2021

Caroline Daly.

The Department for Education announcement on 2 January of a new Institute of Teaching (IoT) is a watershed moment for initial teacher education (ITE) in England. On 4 January the IoT was put out to tender as ‘an independent body’, to be run by a supplier or suppliers. It is intended to be ‘a national role model’ to ‘exemplify how to deliver ITT’ and teacher development, which ‘will support other organisations to understand and implement best practice in the delivery of teacher development’.

Presumably, university partnerships might apply. After all, a number of providers amongst the HE sector in England would qualify as world leaders in enacting research-informed teacher education and have been judged to be consistently ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Many questions about teacher education are raised by this development (for example, see John White’s blog on whether the IoT can support what teachers need to learn). One that is worth serious scrutiny is a core claim in the Secretary of State’s announcement. Gavin Williamson asserted that the IoT will be the ‘flagship’ provider of teacher education for this country. That gives some pause for thought. It appears we are in need of a flagship? I want to argue that many candidates for that accolade exist, and that a world-leading role in teacher education should go far beyond the proposed remit for the IoT.

The issues are serious regarding what is valued in teacher education and what it takes to be truly outstanding in (more…)

DFE advice on student teacher workload misses what is learnt by planning lessons

Blog Editor, IOE Digital9 November 2018

Caroline Daly.
The Department for Education has been looking for ways to reduce teacher workload. This week it published two further reports – one on shrinking the burden of data collection, and another called Addressing teacher workload in Initial Teacher Education, offering guidance to providers. It is that guidance I’d like to address.
While the impetus behind these publications is to be welcomed, I think we need to be wary of cutting the wrong corners. One suggestion that particularly caught my eye was: ‘How have you reviewed your provision to develop trainees to focus on planning a sequence of lessons rather than writing individual lesson plans?’
Why do I pick out this example?
As a teacher educator and external examiner of teacher training provision I strongly believe that student teachers need to learn how to plan lessons that are increasingly effective – specific lessons, in detail, with actual pupils in mind. It’s simply (more…)