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Company to rethink its training

A PRIVATE company is shutting its government-funded teacher-training courses for 12 months after three were failed in as many years.

The Centre for British Teachers has requested the break so it can restructure its postgraduate distance learning courses, which mainly cater for unqualified teachers in the independent sector.

It was allocated 33 postgraduate certificate in education training places this academic year, worth around pound;127,700, in subjects including science, maths, English, geography and music.

But a PE course run by the not-for-profit organisation was withdrawn at the end of 2002 after it was failed by the Office for Standards in Education.

Inspectors were critical of every aspect of the course, from the lack of a single subject handbook to the quality and training of school mentors, to trainees' subject knowledge and the poor quality training they were offered.

Previously, CfBT's maths and information and communications technology courses have also fallen foul of the inspectors. Maths improved, but ICT was withdrawn.

The Teacher Training Agency automatically considers withdrawing the accreditation providers need to run any government-funded courses where courses have been failed. It has previously warned CfBT against dropping failing courses to avoid de-accreditation. But the agency has approved the year-off plan, which starts in September, and is supporting the centre's restructuring efforts.

Margaret Abbott, CfBT operations director, said: "We recognised the programme needed modifying to increase the involvement of partner schools.

Consequently, CfBT has not recruited any trainees this year. The TTA is advising us on our new structure."

The company will continue to run employment-based training for teachers who are self-funded. It has also applied with Lincolnshire schools to run government-funded on-the-job training via the Graduate Teacher Programme.

The TTA has provisionally approved 13 new applications to run GTP schemes, but is refusing to name them or say if CfBT is one until they are approved at a board meeting in May. CfBT manages the Government's "fast track" scheme for high-flying teachers, and helps manage Lincolnshire's school improvement service.

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