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Subject to change: by focusing on universal entitlement, the ITT Market Review makes it harder to build courses around disciplines and local needs

Blog Editor, IOE Digital20 December 2021

Alison Kitson

In a post this term, my colleague Mark Hardman wrote that a fundamental flaw of the Government’s ITT Market Review was its assumption that quality can be measured by adherence to the Core Content Framework (CCF). The problem, he explained, was that the CCF ‘does not refer to subjects in any meaningful way’. And how could it? Given that the intention of the CCF is to provide a minimum curricular entitlement for all student teachers regardless of phase or subject, by necessity it has to be generic.

The problem is that by attempting to make this entitlement applicable to everyone, it fails to satisfy anyone. Fortunately, the solution to this problem already exists. By ensuring that all student teachers receive training that has subject specificity at its core, university-led ITE supports subject-specific interpretations of this highly generic framework and provides programmes that include but also extend beyond the CCF. Unfortunately, the ITT Market Review, despite the recent government response, still threatens to restrict providers’ freedom to construct courses around the particular demands of subjects and local contexts.

Ever since national standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) were first introduced, university ITE (more…)

Expertise in being a generalist is not what student teachers need

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 December 2021

Caroline Daly.

The Government response to the initial teacher training (ITT) market review report is deepening the muddle about what is meant by ‘expertise’ in teaching and initial teacher education (ITE). The new requirements to become a provider of ITE are based on a distorted view of subject specialist expertise as something to be added to an extensive generalist preparation for teaching. It is for this reason that subject specialists in ITE need to be heard and taken seriously, while the sector digests the new guidance to become accredited providers of ITE programmes.

Our new IOE Blog series will provide insights by subject specialists in ITE, highlighting the specific expertise required to develop excellent teachers across disciplines and phases.

The ITT Core Content Framework (CCF) places the development of generic knowledge and practice of teaching at the heart of ITE and is the centrepiece of the new requirements. Yet it is a fundamental flaw to suggest that teaching is first and foremost a generalist practice. Instead, there is a need to scrutinise what it takes to make a (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…)

Let’s stand up for subjects

Blog Editor, IOE Digital18 September 2014

Michael Young and David Lambert
Each curriculum subject contains a different way of understanding the world. Access to this ‘powerful knowledge’ for every pupil should form the basis for any curriculum. This is the central argument of our new book, Knowledge and the Future School: Curriculum and Social Justice, which we have written in collaboration with secondary headteacher Carolyn Roberts and former head Martin Roberts.
The book engages directly with and moves beyond the increasingly sterile debate between the former Secretary of State, Michael Gove, with his ticklists of facts, and those of his vociferous antagonists in the education community who argue that process is far more important than content. (more…)