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OFSTED cracks down on trainers

SCHOOLS which want to train graduates on the job will have to meet tougher standards.

The move is part of a package of changes to the popular Graduate Teacher Programme agreed by ministers, following criticisms last month from the Office for Standards in Education.

Schools have turned to the scheme, which pays graduates up to pound;13,000 to train in the classroom, as a way of filling vacancies.

But many struggled to offer suitable training, said the inspectors. They identified six trainees they judged to be failing who were later passed. Now, schools, education authorities, universities, or partnerships that want to provide GTP places will have to apply to become a "designated recommending body" (DRB), and will have to prove they have the quality assurance procedures and resources to provide good quality training for between 10 and 150-plus candidates at a time.

After three years, the new bodies will have to work towards full teacher-training accreditation. They will also be subject to OFSTED inspection. However, once designated, they will have much more freedom than at present to select candidates and make recommendations about whether they have met the Qualified Teacher Status standards. And they will get regular allocations of places - rather than having to bid ad hoc for them, which has made planning difficult, and left candidates unsure of their chances of getting on the scheme.

The Teacher Training Agency plans to hold back 20 per cent of future places to ensure individual schools can still train one or two people. There are at present around 2,250 GTP trainees in 426 schools.

Guidance on the new structure will be issued in April for places available in September.

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