Teacher training and the curriculum
94. The process of improving teacher skills will
mean ensuring that curriculum-related matters are covered sufficiently
in Initial Teacher Training (ITT) provision. Such provision could
be expected to support immediate improvement in teacher confidence.
It could also have longer-term benefits in building the national
stock of knowledge about curriculum design:
We need to have in this country a reservoir of
expertise on thinking about the curriculum and unless we restore
to teachers in general the capacity to think through those issues,
we are heading for trouble as an educating nation.
95. ITT provision is shaped by the standards for
Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which it must enable trainee teachers
to meet. The most recent version of the QTS standards was introduced
in 2007. There are 33 standards, of which the following relate
most directly to curriculum matters:
14) Have a secure knowledge and understanding of
their subjects/curriculum areas and related pedagogy to enable
them to teach effectively across the age and ability range for
which they are trained.
15) Know and understand the relevant statutory and
non-statutory curricula and frameworks, including those provided
through the National Strategies, for their subjects/curriculum
areas, and other relevant initiatives applicable to the age and
ability range for which they are trained.
22) Plan for progression across the age and ability
range for which they are trained, designing effective learning
sequences within lessons and across series of lessons and demonstrating
secure subject/curriculum knowledge.
96. While teacher training does not end with ITT,
Standard 15, with its emphasis on trainee teachers' knowing the
requirements of National Strategies guidance, appears particularly
inadequate for the purpose of developing trainee teachers' understanding
of curriculum design and their confidence to take ownership of
central curriculum frameworks and guidance, let alone design their
own curriculum independently.
97. We recommend that both the theory and practice
of curriculum design is given a much higher profile within the
standards for Qualified Teacher Status.
98. In this respect we recognise that the implications
of reducing the size of the National Curriculum have the potential
to result in a bloated curriculum for ITT. We will look more closely
at the appropriateness of the current QTS standards as a whole
as part of our forthcoming inquiry into teacher training.
RE-ORIENTING THE ROLE OF THE CENTRE
IN RELATION TO THE CURRICULUM
99. Teachers will also need support in developing
and refining their practice and in identifying effective practice
conducted in other schools. As the Geographical Association commented:
Currently, schools are experimenting with curriculum
innovationboth within and outside the National Curriculumwith
almost no framework for either evaluation or the transfer of successful
and effective practices.
100. The support of locally-developed practice will
require the Department and its relevant agencies to take on a
very different roleone of intelligence gathering and research
and development as well as monitoring compliance. Professor David
The centre, since the Education Reform Act 1988,
has prescribed very substantially what schools should do and then
has monitored whether there is compliance, through either Ofsted
or tests. When we move to a period of less prescription from the
centre and more innovation from the front line, which I think
is the step we are now at, it means the centre has to do more
than simply monitor; it has to look for intelligence. We need
an intelligence system that says, "Where is the most interesting
innovation occurring, and how can the centre assist to apply rigour
and identify it as good? [...]".
Efforts to gather and disseminate intelligence on
effective practice in delivering the National Curriculum will
also need to assist Ofsted in its ability to assess more innovative
approaches to curriculum delivery, such as project-based learning.
101. We expect the Department to set out how its
role and that of its relevant agencies will change in relation
to the National Curriculum over the next five to ten years in
order to support the move to a much less prescriptive curriculum
and less centrally-directed approach to its delivery.
70 Q 615. See also Q 579 Back
Q 591 Back
Ev 257, paragraph 3; Ev 258, paragraph 7; Ev 289, paragraph 7.1 Back
Ev 52, paragraph 15 Back
Ev 257, paragraph 15 Back
Ev 73, paragraph 116 Back
Q 487 Back
Q 279 Back
Q 278 [Peter Dudley] Back
Qq 487-488 Back
Q 124 [Martin Johnson] Back
The QTS standards can be viewed at www.tda.gov.uk Back
Ev 258, paragraph 6 Back
Q 483 Back
Q 482 [Professor Hargreaves] Back