Select Committee on Education and Skills Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Question 100)



  Q100  Chairman: The very last thing: what is coming through our reports, and we will come back to this, is a question-mark over what on earth is going on in teacher training. In terms of teaching children to read—the amount of time that was devoted to child development, the readiness of a child to learn to read, the different ways of teaching a child to read—we picked up evidence that there was a very small amount of the curriculum for teacher training in that area. We have seen the same repeated today in terms of citizenship. We suspect it is also the same in respect of out-of-school education. Do you have concerns about what actually is given as a range of skills to the people that we train as teachers?

  Mr Bell: It continues to be a tall order, Chairman, to prepare young teachers, and they are not always necessarily young in age these days because we have a much more diverse population coming in, to do all the things that they need to do. We have commented that certainly since the nineties, through successive inspection programmes, the quality of teacher education has improved. Teachers in lots of ways are more prepared, and I think head teachers will often say this to the next generation, the current generation that is coming out of training are well prepared. There will always be an issue, Chairman, about what the content of their training should be, but in a sense that is the responsibility of the Department with the Training and Development Agency, and, of course, we do inspect teacher education.

  Chairman: Chief Inspector, we have covered a lot of territory today. You will be back to see us soon on special education, I believe. Thank you very much. We will see you again soon. Would you thank all of your team.

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