Make Teacher Training Vocational, Not Academic - Post Two of "Ten Reforms That Might Just Work"

There’s been talk lately of moving teacher training out of universities completely and into schools. There aren’t much more details than that, and I’m not sure what people’s opinion is of it – what do you think? How would it work?

My own reckoning is that schools would employ student teachers who are graduates of their subject on a training salary, and be solely responsible for training them up as teachers. Would they employ them permanently after they complete the training? I think they’d have to, otherwise some schools would become dedicated teacher training schools, taking on students for a year and then moving them on, which is what universities do now anyway. It would make the move pointless.

I think student teachers should be guaranteed a year’s contract to complete their NQT in after the training is finished, and that’s when schools can decide to employ that teacher permanently or not. Student teachers then do not need to secure employment in order to complete their training as they do now, and schools are then not committed to permanently employing a teacher on the basis of their potential at the pre-student teacher stage.

It might provide a progression path for some talented experienced teachers, in that they can get paid extra to take students and then NQTs into their department. It would solve the issue of the irrelevancy of a lot of the PGCE content, and would allow more practical behaviour management work to take place, which most students agree is what they would prefer.

I think it would also lower the status of teaching though. It is already widely debated whether teaching is a profession or not, and I think teachers would no longer be considered to be academics if this move was made. Honestly, I think this has happened already, and so wouldn’t make any difference.

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