10 Mar 2015
10 March 2015, 12.15 – 15.00, Dining Room A, Palace of Westminster
Kindly hosted by Kevin Brennan MP, Shadow Schools Minister
million+ held a successful event in Parliament to mark the launch of A Manifesto for Teacher Education. The manifesto sets out key principles for governments to consider in order to secure future teacher supply and high quality teaching.
Our host, Kevin Brennan MP, was joined on the discussion panel by:
- Professor Michael Gunn, Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University and Chair of million+
- Christine Blower, General Secretary, NUT
- Nansi Ellis, Assistant General Secretary, ATL
- Graham Stuart MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee.
A Manifesto for Teacher Education was created by experts in teacher education departments from universities across England and is strongly supported by teaching organisations.
There were discussions on a range of important issues, such as concerns with the supply and retention of teachers across the regions and in rural areas, the qualifications of teachers, school and university collaboration, and opportunities for career-long professional development for teachers.
Some of the other issues raised included:
- Planning the teacher training workforce in universities is harder than ever, with the 1 year NCTL cycle of allocations for student places making it extremely difficult to plan staffing levels for each year: this uncertainty leads to risks on the capacity within universities.
- There is need for a better understanding of what is meant by QTS, to ensure that it is seen as a marker of high quality training that combines theory and practice.
- The desire to encourage a conversation about the nature of the academic profession and the ongoing link between classroom and universities; some believed that teaching is now less well regarded as a profession by the public, politicians and the media
- Quality of teaching is the single most important factor in education, so government must commit to high quality initial teacher training and continuous professional development
- In terms of subject knowledge, the workforce is better qualified than ever before, with more graduates with degrees at 2:1 or 1st and more Teach First recruits
- School leaders are finding it harder than ever to recruit teachers
- There should be a national supply model for teacher training, with regional nuances to ensure that needs are properly understood and met.
- The imbalance in the current system of teaching training with a greater emphasis placed on classroom practice has been to the detriment of newly qualified teachers forming a solid understanding of pedagogy, child psychology and theory. International evidence shows that the best performing countries make strong links between theory and practice.
For further information ‘A Manifesto for Teacher Education’ can be downloaded here.
The event attracted a diverse crowd of politicians, sector professionals, academics and students. We thank all who took part.