New fast-track course could allow trainee teachers to qualify after just one year

30th July 2016 at 16:01
fast track training
Unions hit out against the proposal but experts say the duration of the course is not the most important aspect of teacher training

The Scottish government is considering halving the time it takes to become a fully qualified teacher in a bid to solve the country’s school staff shortages, TESS can reveal.

Scottish education secretary John Swinney has asked universities to come up with a training route that combines the one-year postgraduate course, the PGDE, and Scotland’s one-year induction scheme “to allow teachers to quickly reach the standard for full registration”.

Unions have hit out at the proposal – which would allow trainees to become teachers in just a year – comparing it to “on-the-job training” schemes in England.

Drew Morrice, assistant secretary of the EIS teaching union, said that if the scheme did go ahead, it was likely that new teachers would end up missing out either on pedagogical experiences at university or practical experience in school.

David Kirk, head of Scotland’s largest school of education at the University of Strathclyde, said such a training route would lead to “untrained people effectively being teachers”.

'It's not a tartanised Teach First'

However, John Stodter, a former director of education who has advised the government on its education policy, argued against dismissing the government’s plan as “a tartanised Teach First”. For far too long, Scotland had unquestioningly taken the length of a course of study as an assurance of its substance, he said.

Mr Swinney wrote to schools of education earlier this month asking them to come up with a range of new routes into the profession in order to tackle shortages in certain subjects, such as science, technology, engineering and maths.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: “We have no plans to introduce the model of school-based education used in England. What’s more, we remain absolutely committed to the central role of the General Teaching Council for Scotland in accrediting the professional standards of those who teach in our schools.”

This is an edited article from the 29 July edition of TESS. Subscribers can read the full article here. This week's TESS magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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