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Blunkett group to drive reforms

THE NEW Teachers' Group within the Department for Education and Employment is the result of David Blunkett's determination to take a more hands-on role in teacher training.

Under the command of Peter Makeham, the group has evolved out of the old teacher supply and training division, effectively doubling its size with the addition of a leadership and professional development section.

This will take forward many of the key proposals of the Green Paper, including the key parts outlined by the Education Secretary in his letter to the Teacher Training Agency, which launched its review.

They include the leadership college, the headship training programmes formally overseen by the TTA, and the individual learning accounts which teachers will use for their ongoing professional development. Crucially it will also oversee the new appraisal system (which the National Union of Teachers has voted to boycott) and the assessment which teachers will undergo to cross the threshold to the new higher pay scale.

It has already begun work on the accelerated promotion scheme for potential heads and will develop the fast-track graduate recruitment programme.

The teacher supply and training section - responsible for the raft of schemes such as the golden handshake for maths and science teachers launched last October to boost recruitment - will continue, but is likely to prove a junior partner as the Green Paper drives the agenda over the coming months.

Although the unit is in its early stages, its work is expected to accelerate quickly. Among its tasks will be to set up the national leadership college.


FOUR external advisers have been appointed by the Department for Education and Employment to take forward the Green Paper. They will spend one day a week at the DFEE's new teachers' group. They are:

* Pat Collarbone, director of the London leadership centre at the Institute of Education, who will advise on the new National Leadership College.

* Carol Adams, county education officer for Shropshire.

* Gareth Newman, head of Brooke Weston city technology college, Corby.

* David Reynolds, professor of education at Newcastle University.

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