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School training fails new recruits

Graduate teacher trainees are getting a raw deal from schools.

Jon Slater reports

School-based trainee teachers are let down by training which does not meet their needs, says a report by the Office for Standards in Education.

Students recruited to the graduate teacher programme often receive only a narrow experience of teaching and as a result struggle to stretch high-ability pupils. Those teaching in secondary schools often had limited subject knowledge and were insecure about teaching sixth-formers, the report said. A lack of awareness about the effect of different teaching strategies on learning was also a problem.

One in five lessons taken by GTP trainees had unsatisfactory features, compared with a figure of one in ten for trainees on traditional courses.

The programme allows graduates to train on the job, earning an unqualified teacher's salary, usually about pound;14,000. There are 5,279 GTP trainees this year. Training takes from three months to one school year, depending on a student's previous experience.

David Bell, chief inspector of schools, said: "The fact that the programme helps fill gaps in secondary subjects where there is a shortage can only be a good thing. However, not all training providers are giving trainees the quality of training they deserve. There is also a need to address the issue of trainees' subject knowledge which isn't as good as it could be."

Ofsted praised the scheme for attracting good candidates and for making a strong contribution to recruitment from under-represented groups and in secondary shortage subjects. Nine out of 10 trainees reach the required standard by the end of their course. The proportion teaching satisfactory or good lessons is similar to that for other trainees. But fewer teach very good lessons and about half of training providers fail to meet the Government standards.

Training is better in primary than in secondary schools.

The report was based on inspections of 92 training providers in 20034.

The bodies, which include a mixture of schools, local authorities and universities and take between 15 and 200 trainees, are responsible for recruiting candidates, identifying training needs and organising courses.

An Employment-based route into teaching is available from www.ofsted.gov.uk

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