Initial training of pre-school, primary and secondary schoolteachers



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Teacher Education in England and Wales

INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING IN ENGLAND AND WALES

Arrangements for initial training of teachers in England and Wales varies according to the sector (schools, further education or higher education) in which they are intending to teach.


INITIAL TRAINING OF PRE-SCHOOL, PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLTEACHERS
Teachers employed in maintained schools, including nursery schools, must have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or be otherwise licensed or authorised to teach by the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, the National Assembly for Wales (formerly by the Secretary of State for Wales) or by the Teacher Training Agency. Teachers of a class of pupils with hearing or visual impairments must, in addition, obtain a recognised specialist qualification within three years of appointment.
Under the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998, all teachers in maintained schools and non-maintained special schools will be required to register with the General Teaching Council for England or the General Teaching Council for Wales. These Councils are expected to be operational by September 2000.

Historical overview

Initial teacher training (ITT) for schoolteachers was traditionally provided by higher education institutions (HEIs) and students undertook block periods of school-based experience known as teaching practice. Since 1983, all newly qualified teachers trained in England and Wales have had graduate status.


The initial training of schoolteachers has undergone reform according to the following principles:


  • there should be a variety of high-quality routes to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), reflecting the different backgrounds and qualifications of candidates and responding to the increasingly diverse needs of schools;




  • schools should play a much larger and more influential part in initial teacher training, in partnership, where appropriate, with HEIs;




  • accreditation criteria for institutions providing ITT should require HEIs, schools and students to focus on the competencies of teaching, that is on the subject knowledge and skills required by newly qualified teachers, which equip them to teach effectively and are the foundation of further professional development; and




  • institutions, rather than courses, should be accredited for ITT.

The trend towards placing students in schools for greater proportions of their training has resulted in a sharing of responsibility for ITT between the HEIs and the schools. Courses are now provided either by partnerships of HEIs and schools or, in a limited number of cases, by groups of schools, consulting HEIs and other agencies as required.


The Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 introduced significant reforms including:


  • provision for the establishment of General Teaching Councils and the requirement for teachers to register with the appropriate Council;




  • the requirement for newly qualified teachers (NQTs) to serve an induction period;

  • the inspection of teacher training institutions by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector;




  • the requirement for new Headteachers to hold the professional qualification for Headteachers.

Specific legislative framework of initial teacher training

The employment and qualifications of teachers are subject to the Education (Teachers) Regulations 1993 as amended by the Education (Teachers) (Amendment) Regulations 1997. The Regulations are made under Section 218 of the Education Reform Act 1988. Institutions providing ITT courses leading to QTS must be accredited by the Teacher Training Agency (in England) or the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (in Wales) as providers of courses which satisfy the criteria, curricula and other provisions specified by the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (in England) and the National Assembly for Wales (in Wales). The criteria lay down minimum requirements for school-based experience during the period of training are set out in DfEE Circular 4/98; the equivalent Circular for Wales is WO Circular 13/98.



Decision-making bodies in initial teacher training




England

The Secretary of State for Education and Employment is responsible (under Section 11a of the Education Act 1994) for ensuring that there are sufficient facilities for training teachers for service in maintained schools in England.
The responsibility for forward planning rests with the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE).
Planning is based on the number and type of teachers needed and assumptions of likely trends. The DfEE then provides the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) with ITT intake targets to use as the basis for its funding and allocation decisions. Teacher supply is managed so as to avoid excessive surpluses and shortages. This is achieved by providing a range of routes to Qualified Teacher Status (see sections on flexible post-graduate training and employment based routes below), by initiatives to encourage qualified teachers to return to teaching. The government is also introducing new Training Salaries of £6,000 for primary and secondary post-graduate trainees starting a course from September 2000 (the payments to primary post-graduates are being trailed in the first year.) In addition, a new Teaching Incentive of £4,000 is being introduced for secondary trainees who start initial training in September 2000 taking up teaching posts in subject areas where there is a shortage (mathematics, science, modern foreign languages and technology) and complete induction.
The Education Act 1994 established the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) and defines its functions with respect to England as:


  • to inform and advise the Secretary of State for Education and Employment;




  • to fund the provision of teacher training, subject to any general directions which the Secretary of State might make by Order;







  • to designate institutions, which satisfy the criteria and standards specified by the Secretary of State, as accredited providers of courses of initial teacher training and to monitor whether institutions continue to meet those criteria;




  • to ensure the effective implementation of the national curricula for teacher training;




  • to set standards and develop a strategy for the continuing professional development of teachers;




  • to arrange, as appropriate, for the conduct of studies designed to improve the economy, efficiency or effectiveness in the management or operations of an institution; and




  • to carry out or commission, as appropriate, research into improving the training of teachers or the standards of teaching.

The members of the TTA are appointed by the Secretary of State for Education and Employment.


The Education Act 1994, as amended by the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998, gives Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools in England the power to inspect and report on initial and in-service training for schoolteachers and teaching assistants.

Wales

Teacher supply and recruitment are undertaken by the TTA on an integrated England and Wales basis.
The funding, accreditation and monitoring of initial teacher training institutions in Wales is the responsibility of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW).
The Education Act 1994, as amended by the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998, gives Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools (Wales) the power to inspect and report on initial and in-service training for schoolteachers and specialist teaching assistants.

Institutions responsible for initial teacher training

Higher education institutions (HEIs) in England and Wales whose initial teacher training provision satisfies the criteria laid down are accredited by the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales respectively, to offer programmes which lead to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). HEIs and their partner schools have joint responsibility for course planning and management and for the selection, training and assessment of students, although the balance of responsibility varies.


School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) which was introduced under section 12 of the Education Act 1994, empowers schools accredited by the Teacher Training Agency to provide courses of initial teacher training. Schools may operate alone or in partnership with other institutions. Courses are available to those who hold a recognised university degree or equivalent, and lead to the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
From September 2000, 48 new Initial Teacher Training Schools will be established in England.These new Training Schools, which are currently participating in initial training in partnerships with HEIs, will be funded to develop and disseminate good practice in initial teacher training.

Admission requirements

The admission criteria for initial teacher training are set out at Annex I to DfEE Circular 4/98 and Annex E to Welsh Office Circular 13/98.


Access to all initial teacher training courses is restricted and subject to a preliminary selection process, including an interview, to determine the applicant’s suitability for teaching as a career. Admission is also subject to physical and mental fitness to teach (to be assessed as outlined in DfEE Circular 4/99). Institutions must also check that applicants do not have a criminal background which might prevent employment as a teacher with children or young people. Since 1989, it has been a requirement that experienced practising teachers be involved in the selection process.
All prospective teachers must be able to demonstrate that they have attained the standard required to achieve a Grade C in the General Certificate of Secondary Education (or equivalent) examination in English language and mathematics. Applicants for training according to concurrent training schemes must normally satisfy the criteria for university entrance. Applicants for consecutive training schemes must hold a recognised university degree or the recognised equivalent. Applicants to the Graduate and Registered Teacher Programmes must be over 24 years of age and have successfully completed either a first degree (Graduate Teacher Programme) or at least two years of relevant higher education (Registered Teacher Programme).

Curriculum, duration of initial training

The content of training courses and the minimum period of practical and teaching experience in schools are specified in broad terms by the Government. The detailed organisation of training courses is decided by the individual institution, subject to accreditation by the Teacher Training Agency (in England) or the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.


The standards for the award of qualified teacher status in England are laid down in Annex A to the DfEE Circular 4/98 (Welsh Office Circular 13/98). These standards are defined in terms of: knowledge and understanding; planning, teaching and class management; and monitoring, assessment, recording, reporting and accountability.
The initial teacher training curriculum for the core subjects of English, mathematics and science and the use of information and communications technology in subject teaching are also laid down in the annexes of DfEE Circular 4/98 and Welsh Office Circular 13/98.
DfEE Circular 4/98 includes the following annexes:


  • Annex A — standards for the award of Qualified Teacher Status




  • Annex B — the initial teacher training curriculum for the use of information and communications technology in subject teaching




  • Annex C — the initial teacher training curriculum for the teaching of English in primary schools




  • Annex D — the initial teacher training curriculum for the teaching of mathematics in primary schools




  • Annex E — the initial teacher training curriculum for the teaching of science in primary schools







  • Annex G — the initial teacher training curriculum for the teaching of mathematics in secondary schools




  • Annex H — the initial teacher training curriculum for the teaching of science in secondary schools




  • Annex I — general requirements for all courses of teacher training.

The curricula specify the essential core of knowledge, understanding and skills which all trainees intending to teach in primary and secondary schools must be taught and be able to use in relation to the core subjects and in relation to the use of information and communications technology in subject teaching. Institutions are expected to include other aspects of the subject not specified in the curricula. The new requirements for initial teacher training courses do not specify the number of hours to be devoted to any area of the curriculum.


New skills tests are being introduced for all trainee teachers in England. From summer 2000 all trainees in England will have to pass a national numeracy test. National skills tests in literacy and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) will be launched in England in February 2001. Trainee teachers in England will have to pass these tests before they gain Qualified Teacher Status.

All initial teacher training institutions in Wales must offer training in Welsh as a second language as an integral part of their courses of primary teacher training. Students who successfully complete this component are awarded a certificate of competence to teach Welsh in primary schools.


The Special Educational Needs Training Consortium (SENTC) stresses that all newly qualified teachers should be aware of:


  • the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs (DFE, 1994);




  • the basic learning process;







  • approaches to the assessment of learning difficulties;




  • how they might begin to meet the needs of pupils through varied teaching strategies and differentiation; and




  • the level of support which is available.



Concurrent models of initial teacher training

Most programmes are for primary teaching, but there are also some programmes aimed at secondary teaching.


The concurrent education degree normally involves three or four years of full-time higher education and teacher training, leading to an education degree and to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). The qualifications awarded on successful completion of the course include the Bachelor of Education (BEd) and the Bachelor of Arts in Education BA(Ed), although other names may be used. The course includes curriculum, pedagogical and educational studies; university-level study of one or more main subject(s); and the application of the students’ main subject(s) in primary or secondary schools, as appropriate. Two-year concurrent degree courses are available for mature students who have already completed at least one year of relevant higher education.
Some courses are available part-time.

Consecutive models of initial teacher training

Most programmes are for secondary teaching, but programmes for primary teaching are increasingly popular.


The consecutive training model involves three or four years of study leading to a first degree, followed by one year of professional training leading to the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). DfEE Circular 4/98 states that full-time primary postgraduate courses must last a minimum of 38 weeks and all other full-time postgraduate courses a minimum of 36 weeks. The PGCE focuses on curriculum (the “National Curriculum” or specialised subjects), pedagogical and educational studies, practical teaching skills and the application of the students’ degree subjects to school teaching.
There are also a number of two-year PGCE ‘conversion’ courses which are designed to meet the demand for teachers in shortage subject areas at secondary level. These areas currently include science, mathematics, design and technology, information technology and modern foreign languages. Conversion courses are advised for those students wishing to teach a subject which was not the subject of their first degree. Candidates are normally expected to have completed at least one year of full-time higher education in the subject they wish to teach.
Some courses are available part-time or by distance learning.
Flexible Post-graduate Training
From September 2000 some new flexible modular post-graduate programmes will be introduced. These new, flexible places will attract many talented individuals who might not otherwise have been able, for personal or financial circumstances, to attend a traditional full-time postgraduate ITT course for a year. The new places will be tailored to individual needs. For instance, an individual wishing to change careers could remain in their existing full-time employment while training to become a teacher in their spare time. Alternatively an individual with relevant prior experience or learning could undertake a short, intensive programme to ‘top up’ their skills. These new, flexible places will take advantage of new and innovative ways of delivering training, including using distance learning and web-based materials.

Employment based training

The Graduate and Registered Teacher Programmes are aimed at trainees over the age of 24 and were introduced in 1997 as an in-service, employer-led training scheme leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Responsibility for its administration lies with the Teacher Training Agency (in England) and with the National Assembly for Wales (in Wales). Trainees must first find employment in a school and are paid as unqualified teachers. The Programmes are designed to bring trainees to the standard required of QTS. The school (or school partnership) is responsible for assessing training needs and devising and overseeing the training plan which is approved by the Teacher Training Agency or the National Assembly for Wales and may include off-site training. The training programme for Registered Teachers normally lasts two years and must include further study leading to a first degree. The Graduate programme normally takes one full school year. The Programmes are available to overseas trained teachers and replace the Licensed Teacher Scheme and the Overseas Trained Teacher Scheme.



Teaching methods

The concurrent degree is generally organised in an integrated pattern, comprising a mixture of higher education subject studies, theoretical classes and practical teaching activities throughout the period of study. Annex I of DfEE Circular 4/98 and Annex E of Welsh Office Circular 13/98 states that four-year concurrent courses for intending primary and secondary teachers must include at least 32 weeks' practical teaching experience in schools. Three-year concurrent courses for intending primary teachers must include at least 24 weeks’ practical teaching experience in schools. Two-year concurrent courses must include at least 18 weeks (for intending primary teachers) or 24 weeks (for intending secondary teachers) of practical teaching experience in schools.


As the name suggests, consecutive courses follow on from intensive degree-level study of one or more main subjects. Courses for intending secondary schoolteachers focus on the application of this/these subject(s) to classroom teaching and on pedagogical and educational studies. Consecutive courses for future primary teachers must include at least 18 weeks’ practical teaching experience in schools and for future secondary teachers at least 24 weeks’ practical teaching experience in schools.
Current regulations require those preparing for the PGCE by distance learning to spend a minimum of 24 weeks (secondary) or 18 weeks (primary) in schools. In addition, there is a further three weeks’ involvement with parents’ evenings and other school activities. (These regulations will be relaxed for the new flexible, post-graduate provision).

Evaluation and certification

Students are currently supervised and assessed by tutors from the higher education institution and by their mentors in the schools where they undertake their practical experience. Students are assessed against all the standards for the award of Qualified Teacher Status as outlined in Annex A of DfEE Circular 4/98 and Welsh Office Circular 13/98. Schoolteachers are partly responsible for assessing the students’ competence to teach their specialist subject, to assess pupils and to manage classes. Assessment may include examinations and continuous assessment during the course.


A student who satisfies these and any other specified criteria may be awarded QTS and, in appropriate cases, a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree or a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), according to the course of training.
The qualifications awarded on successful completion of the course include the Bachelor of Education (BEd) and the Bachelor of Arts in Education BA(Ed), although other names may be used. Graduates of the shortened concurrent degree course are usually awarded the Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree.
The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is awarded to those who have successfully completed:





  • a School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) course, if it is validated by a university for the award of a PGCE.

All providers of initial teacher training are required to provide every newly qualified teacher (NQT) with a Career Entry Profile. The profile is a document which summarises information about a new teacher’s strengths and about priorities for their further professional development in relation to the standards for the award of QTS. It is designed to help schools provide targeted monitoring, training and support for NQTs during the induction period.


Teachers who have obtained teaching qualifications in another Member State of the European Union may apply to the Department for Education and Employment to have their qualifications recognised in accordance with Directive 48/89/EC.

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