we need some radical new thinking on the subject……..
The reason for this need is clear. For schools to take a more central role in ITT, more resources will be required. If this doesn’t happen (and the current School Direct proposal to channel all the funds initiially through ITT Providers and the modest funding of Teaching Schools, are not encouraging portents in this respect), we are in danger of seeing the dismantling of the HEI led ITT system without securing a proper replacement.
In addition to addressing the funding/resources issues, we also need to make it easier for departments to support trainees (particularly in Maths and Science). But first a few thoughts about the funding question.
The economics of ITT have always been shrouded in a little mystery. We are not sure of the true cost to schools of training and we are not sure about the real impact and advantage of an activity that most of us regard as of universal benefit. The contribution of ITT to standards, recruitment and retention elude accurate quantification.Without such a clear cost benefit, Head teachers may continue to steer clear of ITT developments.
Some schools are experimenting with ideas as to how trainees might make a greater contribution. Perhaps the future model needs to run something like this: trainees are appointed in March and during April, May and June they could be expected to spend some time supporting, in school, after school and electronically, groups of pupils in Years 6, 11 or 13. Between March and September completion of on line Subject Knowledge Enhancement would be required. Training then runs from September until July with a substantial teaching/covering commitment in the Summer Term. High quality trainees can make a substantial contribution to the performance of a school. A group of schools would need to collaborate to achieve economies of scale with placements, mentoring and tutoring. PGCE could be accredited at a reasonable cost and at the choice and expense of the trainee. The bulk of ITT funding has then to follow the trainee into the school. We need to be able to demonstrate that having trainees is a clear advantage to schools.
Any innovations would need to be properly externally evaluated for impact, but this type of arrangement might just attract the attention of Headeatchers. The current situation provides a unique opportunity for leading ITT schools to shift the paradigm.