Press release

million+ comments on government Carter Review of initial teacher training

19 Jan 2015

The university think-tank million+ has commented on the government’s response to the Carter review of initial teacher training published by the Department for Education today (19 January). The Review and its Chairman, Andrew Carter, the head of a primary school in Surrey, were commissioned by the former Education Secretary, Michael Gove. Since 2011, teacher education has been the subject of a significant reform and 17,000 training places have been transferred into a new School Direct programme. The Review recommends that the Department for Education should reassess the effectiveness of the policy introduced by Ministers which requires all potential trainees to take on-line Skills Tests in literacy and numeracy. The review also suggests that trainee teachers should be encouraged to consider a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) as an ‘optional’ academic qualification in addition to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) – a recommendation rejected by Ministers on the grounds that the Coalition parties have different policies about teacher qualifications.

Professor Michael Gunn, Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University and Chair of million+, said:

“I welcome the recommendation that Skills Tests should be reviewed and it is disappointing that the government is not progressing this. The tests have acted as a barrier to otherwise well-qualified candidates entering training and take no account of prior qualifications or learning on teacher education courses. However, the implication that high quality teacher education is not linked to whether that provision is led by schools or universities is misleading when universities deliver high quality Initial Teacher Training and underpin national and regional teacher supply.

“The Review’s suggestion that qualified teacher status (QTS) can be decoupled from the PGCE and that the PGCE should be regarded as an ‘optional extra’ flies in the face of the evidence of high performing countries like Finland. The next government must make a clear commitment to university-led teacher education provision and to a teaching profession where professional and academic qualifications and professional development become the norm.”


Notes to Editors

1. For further information or to arrange an interview, contact Rochelle Owusu-Antwi, Press and Communications Officer, million+ on 020 7717 1658 / 07527 336 795 or email
2. million+ is a leading university think-tank. More information can be found at
3. The Carter Review can be found here and the government’s response can be found here.