This calls for the next government to put universities at the heart of the teacher education system and sets out a new plan to secure future teacher supply in England. Since 2011 the Department for Education has abolished the requirement for teachers to be qualified and transferred initial teacher training places from universities to schools. The million+ manifesto points out that these reforms stand in ‘sharp contrast’ to the approach adopted in many high performing countries where teachers are highly qualified and universities are central to initial teacher training and professional development.
The manifesto, which is being supported by teaching organisations, is being launched in the House of Commons at an event hosted by Kevin Brennan MP, Labour’s Shadow Schools Minister on the 10th March. Other speakers include Graham Stuart, Conservative MP and Chair of the Commons Education Select Committee, National Union of Teachers’ General Secretary Christine Blower, Nansi Ellis from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and Professor Michael Gunn, Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University and chair of million+.
The manifesto calls on the next government to:
- require all teachers to have an academic and professional qualification
- restore initial teacher training numbers to universities
- encourage universities to collaborate with school partners and require schools to offer placements for trainee teachers
- support universities to develop new programmes to train teachers in all specialist shortage subjects
- develop a professional career framework for teachers which is qualification-based
- provide significant financial support for professional development including through sabbaticals, joint school-university appointments and research opportunities in universities
- work with teaching organisations to develop supportive working conditions to facilitate career long professional development
Professor Michael Gunn, Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University and chair of million+ said:
“The overwhelming majority of parents want teachers to be qualified. Schools and colleges throughout the country need to know that they will be able to recruit teachers who have trained in different settings and been mentored by teacher educators from universities and schools. Teachers are not just trained ‘on the job’. They must have the opportunities that universities provide to develop subject-specific knowledge and pedagogy, the reflective practice, collaborative and problem-based approaches which underpin high quality teaching and excellent schools and to gain academic and professional qualifications.
“The next government risks sleep-walking into a teacher shortage unless there is a change of track. This manifesto provides a clear plan to deliver teacher supply and a world-class system of teacher education and career-long professional development.”
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said:
“The NUT endorses million+’s teacher education manifesto with enthusiasm and a sense of urgency. Teacher education has been fragmented and disorganised by the policies of the last 5 years. We badly need a new system which secures the supply of qualified teachers, ensures the quality of their initial training, and provides for their continuing development. Universities and schools stand ready to create, in partnership, such a system. The million+ manifesto provides a road map towards it.”
Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said:
“High quality teacher training is the bedrock upon which a successful education system is built. This manifesto contains all the necessary elements to ensure that ‘beginning’ teachers are prepared properly for the complex and demanding professional role of teaching. The manifesto emphasises the essential contribution of higher education to quality teacher training: its principles should be adopted by the next government.”
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT said:
“Ensuring the right of every child to be taught by a qualified teacher and creating the conditions which support teacher quality are two of the most important issues facing the country, at a time when fewer graduates are choosing to become teachers and when the number of teachers wanting to quit teaching is at the highest level in the profession’s history.”