Warnings that rapid rise of school-centred initial teacher training puts university courses under threat

The TES is reporting new figures suggesting a sharp increase in the number of school-based teacher training providers and claims from experts that this will lead to the closure of university courses.

TES can reveal that there are now 164 Scitt (school-centred initial teacher training) providers in England. This figure, obtained from the National College for Teaching and Leadership, is almost double the total in 2013, when there were 86 Scitts. Some 46 have been created in the past year alone.

Professor John Howson, an expert in teacher supply, predicts that these courses will become the dominant school-based route for secondary teacher training, leading to the closure of university courses…

James Noble-Rogers, executive director of the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers (Ucet), said: “There is a case for new Scitts, but it should be where there is proven demand. Vast numbers of new Scitts in areas where there is no demand could undermine good-quality training offered by both existing Scitts and higher education institutions.”

Read more in the 24 July issue of TES

More at: Rapid rise of school-centred initial teacher training puts university courses under threat, experts warn


What do you think about these warnings? If they are true, would you lament the loss of university training, or do you think school based training is an acceptable alternative?

Please let us know your take on this in the comments or via Twitter…


Which is better - university-based or school-based initial teacher training?


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Categories: Teaching and Training.


  1. Wasn’t that the purpose of Gove’s changes to teacher training – to shut down all those ‘Marxist’ university-based departments peddling ‘discredited’ ideology?  Better to allow schools to ‘grow their own’.  But teachers taught in this way can be like hot house plants – thrive in their initial environment but wilt and die when moved somewhere else.  It’s no way to train teachers for employment nationally.

  2. Anecdote: When Idid my PGCE we had endless jokes and gaffores in the staffrooms of schools where we saw practice about what we had been told in the university course.  The PGCE tutors seemed blissfully out of touch with reality.  Most of what I learned was from the teachers I worked with and the school mentor.
    The evidence: Hattie finds no difference in the learning of the pupils between those teachers on short or long teacher-training courses. Effect-size is about 0.1 – very low.  http://www.ebtn.org.uk/evidence/hattie-visible-learning

  3. What if neither Universities or Scitt’s are the answer or the issue of high quality teacher training? Perhaps if we start with what makes a good teacher and then try to facilitate this in a coordinated way we would have a way forward. Teachers need access to real life practice, a sort of series of blocks of “teaching practice” in different schools in order to see the wide variety of challenges and develop their skills. They need access to current and broad pedagogy in order to find what works for them in their teaching. They need a critical review of their teaching as well as a mentor. They need to find out how to take what they know and make it accessible to learners. They need to find ways of sharing their passion. They need the time and opportunities for reflection, discussion and research. This all needs time, say 3 years, just focusing on teaching. Oh wait a second, we used to have this setup. What was it – ah yes – the “Certificate of Education” and a 1 year probation period you either passed and could continue to teach or you failed and you found another direction in life. 

    A little action research about what it takes to be an excellent teacher:


  4. cmpercybook

    SchoolsImprove Madness when schools struggle to sustain successful teacher training amidst everything else.

  5. Mike Bell Janet2 Gove’s words describing ‘the network of educational gurus in and around our universities who praised each others’ research, sat on committees that drafted politically correct curricula, drew gifted young teachers away from their vocation and instead directed them towards ideologically driven theory.
    Some wonder if past reformers were exaggerating the problem in university education departments…. In the past The Blob tended to operate by stealth, using its influence to control the quangos and committees which shaped policy. But The Blob has broken cover in the letters pages of the broadsheets because this Government is taking it on.’
    ‘We have abolished the quangos they controlled. We have given  a majority of secondary schools academy status so they are free from the influence of The Blob’s allies in local government. We are moving teacher training away from university departments and into our best schools. And we are reforming our curriculum and exams to restore the rigour they abandoned.’


    It was in the above article that Gove cited ‘surveys’ which showed teenagers were clueless when it came to history.  Turned out the ‘surveys’ were from the likes of UKTVGold and Premier Inn.  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2013/05/dfe-digs-up-more-surveys-but-do-they-support-goves-statement-that-teenagers-have-disturbing-historical-ignorance/

  6. bentleykarl

    SchoolsImprove Yes, ITT could be replaced by sec level corporate teacher instruction, kiss goodbye to any idea of an autonomous profession?

  7. diasporahighsch

    SchoolsImprove Remember Gove said qualified teachers are not necessary in schools, except the SENCO. Uni not needed then!

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