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IOE Blog


Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


More British children are learning Mandarin Chinese – but an increase in qualified teachers is urgently needed

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 11 February 2019

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Mandarin Chinese: coming to a school near you soon?

Katharine Carruthers.
Mandarin Chinese is seen as being of increasing strategic importance, and in recent years there’s been a growing number of students taking up the language in schools across the UK.
There were more than 3,500 GCSE entries for Mandarin Chinese in 2018. But it’s not just China’s global dominance that makes Mandarin an appealing alternative to learning a European language. For students, it’s exciting and (more…)

Teacher supply: Government needs to take responsibility

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 4 July 2016

Joseph Mintz
According to a Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson, “the biggest threat to teacher recruitment is that the teaching unions and others use every opportunity to talk down teaching as a profession, continually painting a negative picture of England’s schools”. This is the Government’s explanation for why they have missed targets for teacher recruitment for four years running.
In the war of words between the government and the teacher unions , it is perhaps inevitable that the truth of the matter has become one of the resulting casualties. In fact, as everyone working in teacher education knows, the reason the government keeps missing its targets is because, in the drive to switch teacher education to school-based routes, schools recruiting to the School Direct programme have been given a significant increase in allocated training places at the expense of traditional university-based courses. However, as schools are in fact generally very busy with teaching children – as (more…)

‘Tragedy of the commons’: how the government abandoned the pursuit of teacher quality

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 16 November 2015

Chris Husbands.
The ‘tragedy of the commons’ is a well-known tenet of public, and especially environmental policy. The ‘commons’ refers to a resource shared by many individuals who can use a portion of it for their own benefit. The tragedy is that in the absence of effective regulation, each individual will tend to exploit the commons to his or her own advantage. Under this state of affairs, the commons are depleted and eventually ruined: everyone acts in their own interests and the outcome is destructive for everyone. But the problem is that if the commons are going to be used up, whoever uses most stands to benefit the most. The application of the ‘tragedy of the commons’ to environmental challenges is obvious. (more…)

Teacher supply: why deregulation is not working

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 1 December 2014

Chris Husbands
Some weeks ago, I was working for the IOE in Chile. Chile is an object lesson in education reform: in the 1980s and 1990s, it de-regulated its education system on a grand scale. For-profit schools entered the public sector. Quasi-voucher schemes were introduced. Teaching was de-regulated. In the last five years, the Chilean government has begun to re-regulate. Michele Bachelet’s new education law will remove for-profit provision from public schooling and reduce selection. I met Christian Cox, Dean of Education at the Pontifical University of Chile at Santiago, a thoughtful, wise observer of education policy, who shook his head as he told me: “it was sheer chaos in Chile. It was a state of nature”.
The teaching profession in England is being de-regulated at speed. Academy schools are no longer required to appoint individuals who have qualified teacher status (QTS). Schools themselves, singly or in groups, are being encouraged to establish (more…)