Private university launches ‘first knowledge-based PGCE’

The TES reports that BPP course sets itself against ‘popular but unproductive teaching methods’ favoured by ‘progressive’ educationalists.

A private university is launching what it is calling “the UK’s first PGCE to focus on ‘knowledge-based’ secondary and primary school teaching”.

It will be the first teacher-training course to explicitly align itself with the “neo-traditionalist” education movement that criticises “progressive” teaching styles, which often emphasise transferable skills, group work and hands-on learning.

The course website says students will be introduced to “teaching methods that are growing in popularity amongst some of the UK’s most innovative schools”, including “direct instruction, feedback, questioning, modelling, deliberate practice and retrieval practice”.

The course’s programme director is Robert Peal, also claimed the PGCE would differ from other courses because of its “big focus on actual subject knowledge”.

Unlike most PGCEs, 50 per cent of the course will be based on an examination.

BPP’s move has drawn criticism from some people in the university ITT sector. James Williams, a lecturer in education at the University of Sussex, said its claim to be providing the first PGCE with a knowledge-based focus was “arrogant, boastful and complete nonsense” because it suggested that knowledge is “eschewed by all other ITT providers”.

BPP will not be directly recruiting students for the course because it is not certified by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) to recommend people for QTS. Instead, it will be providing its PGCE as a “top-up” for trainees on school-centred initial teacher training programmes.

Read more Private university launches ‘first knowledge-based PGCE’

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  1. “actual subject knowledge”

    Or should that be ‘the tiny little bit of partial knowledge that Peal chose to fit his far right ideology for nutters’?

  2. Important that we do not throw out one ideology and bring in an new (old) one.

    Fortunately the list of effective methods suggested is consistent with the growing evidence of ‘what works’.

  3. As an external examiner for thirty plus years in the primary initial teacher education sector, I have yet to see any evidence that there is a disregard for the dimensions of teaching which the BPP team hold dear. In particular, no one questions the importance of subject knowledge, the mastery of questioning skills, the role played by feedback in the assessment process or the impact of teacher modelling in the classroom. But this is allied to a recognition of the complexities of the learning process and an appreciation of the subtleties involved in the child’s construction of understanding through direct engagement with the physical world and the exploration of ideas.Surely what is needed in programme design is not rhetoric but open-mindedness!

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