Teacher training shake-up could mean future teacher shortage, critics argue.
Government plans to make sweeping changes to teacher training have come under fire from critics, with suggestions the shake-up could result in the loss of as many as 10,000 teacher education places.
Ministers insist that the incoming measures – which include a robust new accreditation process, new intensive school placements and high-quality mentoring for trainees – will strengthen standards for initial teacher training courses.
However, Jim Knight, a member of the all-party parliamentary group for the teaching profession and former minister of state for schools, questioned the need for the drastic changes, arguing that it will create more issues than it solves.
“If changes prove, as feared, unviable for teacher education providers, many will have no choice but to withdraw from the market. Our early intel shows that as many as 10,000 teacher education places may go as a result,” said Lord Knight.
He added that the plans couldn’t have come at a worse time amid a post-pandemic recovery in education and could significantly reduce the supply of teachers when they are needed the most.
Dr Tim Bradshaw, chief executive of the Russell Group, which works with 2,500 schools to train more than 5,500 teachers a year, agreed that the measures could have “consequences for the pipeline of new teachers in England”.
Meanwhile, Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, questioned the need for a shake-up at a time when “more people than ever are looking to join the profession”.
“[These] proposals take a sledgehammer to the existing model of teacher training and will only serve to significantly reduce the supply of teachers for years to come,” Brook noted.
In response to the criticism, school minister Nick Gibb asserted that the reconfiguring of teacher training is “central to the government’s levelling up agenda” and will improve pupil outcomes. He stressed it would create “a golden thread” of training, support and development, which will positively impact every stage of a teacher’s career.
What do you think of the shake-up? Do you think it’s necessary?