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In search of a strategic vision

A more strategic approach to teacher training is recommended by Sir Stewart Sutherland, the principal of Edinburgh University, in a review for the Dearing inquiry.

Sir Stewart, the former head of the OFSTED inspectorate in England, contrasts the situation south of the border, where the Teacher Training Agency is attempting to map out a strategic direction with no consensus, with the position in Scotland where there is considerable agreement about the aims of teacher training but little "strategic vision".

His report urges the Scottish Office to take the lead in setting up a national forum to discuss the fundamental issues, but stops short of recommending a Scottish version of the agency. The English system has come under strong criticism for weakening the links between higher education and teacher training.

Sir Stewart calls for a review of the system of course approval in teacher training and the setting of intake targets for trainee teachers. "There is the potential that subject provision may develop in Scotland in a random fashion with the loss of valuable but unviable courses and, in consequence, a system that is not able to produce a supply of appropriately trained teachers to meet the range of demand," the report states.

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