University ITT versus School-led ITT

Currently we are well underway with the interviewing and recruitment process for our PGCE ITT provision, which is proving quite a struggle compared with last year. As a result of this I was thinking about why recruitment is slower than previous year. Amongst other things such as the economy, I think that the dominance of a governmental created discourse is most accountable.

Traditionally, Initial Teacher Training (ITT) was borne out of the needs of societal changes as Robinson (2006: 21) explains in that “From 1805 onwards, the advent of mass organized elementary schooling for children of the working classes, led by the principal religious societies, created an urgent demand for new teachers.” Consequently, ITT has suffered a ‘swinging pendulum’ effect throughout its history with it being either dominated at different times by a school-based apprenticeship style of training or a college-university based model. This is still evident now as we see the increase of school-based training potentially dominating that of a University-based model. Examples of this can be seen in the Government’s drive to increase the role of School Direct and School Centred Initial Teacher Training Schools (SCITTS). These methods of teacher training are supported through governmental policy as it seeks to locate teacher training provision more firmly in the domain of schools. In addition the Government has re-introduced bursaries for training in particular subject areas and/ or routes whilst at the same time increasing the tuition fees for those trainee teachers who seek a University led approach.

This is Government policy in action as it seeks to push through an economically and politically motivated agenda. Furthermore, the nature, status, control and monitoring of the teaching profession by the Government and other agencies such as The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) and Ofsted can be seen in the entry requirements for teacher training, funding and remuneration for schools and universities, and in the control of supply and demand in the number of training places allocated to certain training routes. I am critical of this approach in that this move toward a school centred approach to teacher training enables schools to train teachers under the illusion created by Ofsted and the government. This means that at best those trainees who train in this way are often not encouraged to question the dominant discourse provided by their trainers and at worst creates a new ‘teacher-working-class’. This reinforces the illusion that has been created.

Just a thought…

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