Carter review of initial teacher training

Report from Sir Andrew Carter, chair of the independent review of the quality and effectiveness of initial teacher training (ITT) courses. [pdf] The report sets out how the ITT system is performing and highlights examples of good practice as well as areas for improvement. The government’s response to the review is also available.

Some recommendations of the report relevant to mathematics departments in universities:

  • Recommendation 1a: Subject knowledge development should be part of a future framework for ITT content.
  • Recommendation 1b: Issues in subject-specific pedagogy, such as pupil misconceptions, phases of progression in the subject as well as practical work, should be part of a framework for ITT content.
  • Recommendation 3: Schools should include subject knowledge as an essential element of professional development.
  • Recommendation 4: DfE should make funded in-service subject knowledge enhancement courses available for new primary teachers to access as professional development.
  • Recommendation 5: Universities should explore offering “bridge to ITT” modules in the final years of their subject degrees for students who are considering ITT programmes.
  • Recommendation 8: There are many universities that are home to world-leading research and assessment organisations – yet in our experience it can be the case that these organisations are either not involved in ITT or are involved in a superficial way. ITT partnerships should make more systematic use of wider expertise outside university departments of education.
  • Recommendation 13: All schools should, whenever practically possible, seek out and participate in robust local partnership arrangements. In a school-led system, this recommendation is naturally the responsibility of schools.

The Government response to the Carter review of initial teacher training (ITT) is difficult to interpret. Department for Education has no control over universities (the only serious providers of “subject knowledge”), and is therefore is unable to formulate a coherent policy of improvement of teachers’ subject knowledge. The deliberate attempt to shift ITT away from universities – towards a school-based, apprentice training model is a very recent and peculiarly English idea, whose (real and potential) flaws do not seem to be recognised in either the report or the government response.

Disclaimer: writing for this blog, I act in my personal capacity; the views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent position of my employer, or the London Mathematical Society, or any other organisation or institution.

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