Last week The Times had an interesting series on the education reforms being introduced by Michael Gove.
One theme was the need to improve teacher training:
“Some Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) courses have already closed following poor Ofsted inspections. Mr Gove wants to move towards practical experience and away from theoretical courses.
“Loads of the best schools told us the PGCEs are mostly rubbish; we have to start from scratch because the courses don’t focus on what’s important,” one ally said.
“We are trying to shift the balance towards what works, rather than social-science babble about ‘global models of learning and hermeneutics of global capitalism’.”
A leading article in the paper concluded:
“Though Michael Gove, the education secretary, has started to overhaul teacher training, there is a lot to do before it is wrested from the control of the colleges, some of the last redoubts of failed methods, and placed within schools, where it belongs.”
The progress made should not be ignored. Academy chains including ARK and the Harris Federation have their own teacher training programmes. The Prince’s Teaching Institute plans a College of Teaching. The Teach First programme put high flying graduates in classrooms after just six weeks of training – it is recruiting nearly 1,500 teachers this year. Although this is showing better alternatives than the “group think” of the PGCE.
This morning we had news of proposals to do more.
The Daily Mail reports:
“Newly retired workers from a range of different fields will be parachuted in to teach at Britain’s toughest schools under Tory manifesto plans.
Recent retirees will enrol on an intensive course to retrain as teachers, before being fast-tracked into schools in inner cities and other deprived areas.
The Teach Seniors programme will be based on Teach First, which has seen thousands of high-flying graduates heading into the classroom.”
John Bald has detailed the flawed ideology underpinning the PGCE. Yet Labour and the Lib Dems wish to prohibit anyone without a PGCE from teaching in state schools.
The Blob is in retreat but restoring the PGCE’s monopoly would allow it to come slithering back. The dividing line is clear.