Author: By Richard Garner, Education editor
The scheme, in which students would qualify to teach in only six months, was
announced by Gordon Brown at the start of the recession.
He said it would make “a huge difference to the profession” and
solve two problems ? City redundancies and teacher shortages ? at a stroke.
However, the first course to be set up under the scheme ? at London
University’s prestigious Institute of Education (IoE) ? is in danger of
having places on the new course unfilled when it starts in September.
Staff say those applying for a career switch would not be ready to start
teaching after just six months of training. Instead, they are recommending
prospective students apply for more traditional routes into teaching
including the Graduate Teacher Programme, which provides on-the-job training
as part of the year-long course.
Professor Dylan Wiliam, the deputy director of the IoE, said: “The course
has attracted a lot of interest so far but we feel very few will reach
qualified teacher status in six months ? they won’t reach the standard in
“If they can’t reach this hurdle to entry we are directing them to longer
courses,” he said. “We want to take 40 students but if we can’t
get 40 of the best people we will leave empty places.” Professor Wiliam
told the Times Educational Supplement: So far we have only been accepting
those with excellent personality and communication skills.”
The plan provoked outrage from teachers’ unions when it was first announced.
They claimed ex-banking staff would not be ready to teach in the classroom
after the 10 days of university-based induction they would be given under
the scheme. On the Graduate Teacher Programme, students receive a month’s
induction. The scheme is being treated as a pilot by ministers and its
effectiveness will be measured by the Training and Development Agency, the
government body responsible for teacher recruitment.
But its failure to attract candidates is a major embarrassment for Mr Brown
who calculated it would be seen as as an innovative way of tackling the
problems of the recession.
John Bangs, the head of education at the National Union of Teachers, said
those recruited under the scheme would create an extra burden for their
colleagues ? who would have to shepherd them through their early days in the
Meanwhile, the Government announced plans to cut the teaching grants given to
universities next year by £65m. Every university in England will see its
grant cut by 1.36 per cent.
Education unions have warned the cut will lead to even more job losses and a
lower standard of education.
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