From Baker to Balls: the foundations of the education system - Children, Schools and Families Committee Contents

Appendix 4: Training of Teachers: Conclusions and Recommendations

Recruiting the best to teaching

1.  It is essential that there is in place a robust mechanism for ensuring that entrants to the teaching profession have a sound grasp of literacy, numeracy and ICT skills. It is clear that the Training and Development Agency's skills tests are not at present providing a sufficiently high hurdle in this regard. We recommend that the tests be made an entry requirement for initial teacher training, rather than an exit requirement, with a maximum of just two attempts at each test permitted. (Paragraph 32)

2.  Having examined the level of entry qualifications that trainees bring to both under- and post-graduate initial teacher training programmes, we are clear that the bar must be raised across the board. It is of great concern to us that those with no A-levels, or those with just a pass degree can gain entry to the teaching profession. (Paragraph 41)

3.  The entry qualifications for undergraduate programmes for those wanting to train to be secondary teachers are particularly low. We recommend that funding for these programmes be discontinued. (Paragraph 42)

4.  The entry requirements for undergraduate programmes for those wanting to train to be primary teachers should be raised. These programmes should be designed so that there is parallel development in subject and initial teacher training components. They should provide rigorous preparation in both subject knowledge and education. (Paragraph 43)

5.  The entry qualifications that postgraduate trainees bring to initial teacher training programmes must be improved—substantially so in some subject areas. We recognise that continuing recruitment difficulties may prevent the Department and the Training and Development Agency from simply raising entry requirements overnight. Nonetheless, we would like to see access to postgraduate initial teacher training programmes restricted to those with at least a lower-second degree as soon as possible. The Department must take concerted action to make a career in teaching a much more attractive option for high-achieving graduates. This should be with a view to moving, in time, to higher entry requirements still—to an upper-second degree or above. (Paragraph 44)

6.   We recommend that the Department and the Training and Development Agency for Schools explore the potential for increasing the number of school-centred initial teacher training places. (Paragraph 47)

7.  Employment-based initial teacher training is to be welcomed as a means of enabling high calibre career changers to join the teaching profession. However, any significant expansion of employment-based initial teacher training should take place only once Ofsted is confident of the general quality of these programmes. (Paragraph 49)

8.  At present, school-centred and employment-based initial teacher training accounts for 15% of training places. We believe that expanding the proportion of these training places to around 30% should be feasible in the medium term, taking into account the issue of capacity within the schools system to offer high quality training. (Paragraph 50)

9.  Consideration should be given to how employment-based trainees could improve their understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of teaching practice. We recommend that all employment-based trainees be entitled to complete a Professional/Postgraduate Certificate in Education as part of their initial training. (Paragraph 53)

Equipping teachers with high quality initial training

10.  We are concerned that the extent of centrally-prescribed requirements for initial teacher training provision, and the way in which Ofsted assesses compliance with them, are having a deadening effect on initial teacher training. We call on the Department and the Training and Development Agency to take urgent steps to minimise the regulatory burden on providers and to encourage genuine local autonomy to respond to wider policy change. (Paragraph 61)

11.  We recommend that Ofsted conducts regular survey inspections of initial teacher training provision in specific subject areas as a means of supporting the development of subject pedagogies and helping to spread good practice. This should be combined with wider research on effective subject pedagogies—to inform initial teacher training as well as teachers' early career and on-going professional development. (Paragraph 63)

12.  We recommend that schools be required to participate in a training partnership if they are to receive the top grade in their Ofsted inspections. Such a requirement obviously places a much stronger onus on higher education institution partners to be fully responsive to the needs of the schools that they work with if partnerships are to be secured over the longer-term. Equally, if schools are to be required to participate in an initial teacher training partnership then they should receive a more appropriate share of the resources than they do at present. (Paragraph 71)

13.  Teaching needs to be a learning profession. A vital aspect of this is teachers reflecting on their own practice and supporting colleagues. In particular, good quality mentoring for trainee teachers, and newly qualified teachers, should be of the highest priority. (Paragraph 74)

14.  We recommend that those who mentor trainees on school placement should have at least three years' teaching experience and should have completed specific mentor training. Involvement in mentoring should be made a more explicit criterion with regard to teachers' career progression. (Paragraph 75)

15.  We recommend that the Department take forward a 'new blood scheme' for initial teacher training. This should fund lectureships and doctoral places with a view to maintaining the expertise of the teacher training workforce. (Paragraph 81)

16.  Higher education institutions are important in bringing rigour and status to initial teacher training. With this in mind we were disappointed that their research-active staff do not make a greater contribution to training provision. We recommend that the Training and Development Agency and Ofsted pay greater attention to this aspect of provision when accrediting and inspecting initial teacher training providers. Providers' arrangements for developing the research skills and profile of other teacher training staff should also be taken into consideration. (Paragraph 82)

17.  There is a need to raise the status of school teachers who are involved in delivering initial teacher training in schools (including but not limited to mentoring). We recommend that a nationally recognised 'clinical practitioner' grade is introduced. These staff should have a formal attachment to a higher education institution. (Paragraph 83)

Early career teachers

18.  We are concerned that the Training and Development Agency's efforts to improve the transition of trainees from their initial training to their induction year do not in themselves address the 'front-loaded' nature of teacher training. We would like to see changes that embed a perception of newly qualified teachers as 'novice' teachers with much learning still to complete, and who require close supervision by teaching colleagues who are experienced mentors. (Paragraph 95)

19.   To signal the importance of the induction process we recommend that trainees should remain provisionally registered with the General Teaching Council for England until they have successfully completed their induction year, only then gaining full registration to teach. (Paragraph 99)

20.  We strongly support the principle of establishing teaching as a masters-level profession, as well as the notion that newly qualified teachers should have the space to continue their training and development. (Paragraph 111)

21.  If it is to be credible and worthwhile the Masters in Teaching and Learning must be a demanding qualification that has a demonstrable impact on a teacher's effectiveness—and not allowed to become an easy milestone for career progression. (Paragraph 112)

22.  The introduction of the Masters in Teaching and Learning must not restrict the access that newly qualified and early career teachers have to other qualifications at masters level or above. (Paragraph 113)

23.  While we do not believe that the Masters in Teaching and Learning should be compulsory, we would like to see introduced much stronger incentives for teachers to complete a relevant qualification at masters level or above. We recommend that this is achieved by putting in place a single national framework for teachers' professional development, through which professional standards are linked to specific qualification requirements/accredited training and to salary progression. (Paragraph 114)

Professional development

24.  We believe that the specification of a minimum level of spending on professional development (as a percentage of the school's overall budget) would support wider efforts to embed a culture of professional development within the schools workforce. We recommend that such ring-fencing of funds is put in place at the earliest opportunity. (Paragraph 124)

25.  We are very concerned that an unintended consequence of the 'rarely cover' policy will be to restrict teachers' access to professional development. The Department should monitor the impact of the policy in this regard. (Paragraph 125)

26.  While we welcome the Training and Development Agency's efforts to improve the standard of professional development provision, particularly non-award bearing provision, through its database of provision we are not convinced that this will offer a sufficient block on ineffective provision—characterised as "death by PowerPoint" by one of our witnesses. (Paragraph 133)

27.  We believe that members of the teaching profession in England should be required to hold a licence to practise, and to renew that licence on a regular basis. (Paragraph 142)

28.  It is essential that the licence to practise is accompanied by an appropriately resourced, generous and guaranteed entitlement to professional development for teachers. (Paragraph 143)

29.  We suggest that current arrangements for dismissing teachers on performance grounds are too cumbersome. The licence to practise must assist schools in weeding out poor performers from the teaching profession. We recommend that the licence to practise must itself offer, or be accompanied by, a more streamlined process for addressing under-performance. (Paragraph 144)

30.  We recommend that a single, overarching 'Chartered Teacher Status' framework, linking professional development, qualifications, pay and the licence to practise, be introduced as a means of structuring teachers' career progression. (Paragraph 147)

31.  We believe that our proposed Chartered Teacher Status framework would have greater potential than the status quo for establishing a clearly articulated set of expectations for teachers and progression routes. It would also offer more explicit recognition of the qualifications, training and expertise that a teacher had gained in the course of his/her career. It would, we suggest, make a profound difference to the status of the teaching profession and quality of teaching. (Paragraph 148)

32.  There is a real problem in relation to supply teachers. They serve an essential role but remain a neglected part of the teaching workforce. The Department must bring supply teachers into the mainstream of the teaching profession. (Paragraph 159)

33.  Regular teachers are paid to undertake professional development during the working day, supply teachers are not. This basic inequality must urgently be addressed. (Paragraph 160)

34.  The Department must put in place arrangements to ensure that all supply teachers participate in annual performance reviews and are easily able to access information about professional development opportunities. The Department should also satisfy itself that all supply teachers are trained to the highest standard. (Paragraph 161)

Teachers in the early years and further education sectors

35.  The Department must develop its policies in relation to early years provision in line with the findings from a range of studies, many of which it funded, showing the critical importance of qualified teachers in early years settings. We call on the Department to provide a clear statement on the respective roles of qualified teachers and Early Years Professionals in early years settings. (Paragraph 169)

36.  For too long, early years provision has been associated with the least skilled and lowest status section of the children's workforce. We recommend that the Training and Development Agency for Schools be given a remit to oversee initial teacher training programmes that train teachers in relation to the 0-5 age group. The standards for Qualified Teacher Status should be modified as necessary to support such 0-5 training. (Paragraph 175)

37.  At the very least, teachers with Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills status should immediately be able to work as a qualified teacher in schools if they are teaching post-16, even post-14, pupils. (Paragraph 184)

38.  In the context of the 14-19 reforms, the Department should put in place a mechanism for assessing vocational or professional qualifications as equivalent to degree status. (Paragraph 185)

39.  Over the longer term we recommend that the training of early years teachers, school teachers and further education teachers become harmonised through generic standards. Alongside this, we envisage Qualified Teacher Status becoming more specific, clearly denoting the age ranges and the subjects for which a trainee was qualified to teach. Chartered Teacher Status we would see as becoming similarly specific. (Paragraph 186)

40.  Diplomas represent one of the most significant initiatives in our education system for many years, and will be expanded considerably this year. This demands greater fluidity—and shared development opportunities—across the school and further education sectors. (Paragraph 187)

41.  In order to enhance collaboration between schools and further education in the development of the 14-19 curriculum, we support the establishment of a centre that would provide joint professional development provision for school and further education teachers in the neglected area of pedagogy and assessment in vocational education. (Paragraph 188)

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