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Teacher-trainers up in arms

A new standards-based funding method has axed in-service training from large swathes of Britain, according to lecturers.

Universities and colleges are outraged by new funding allocations which leave 34 of them with no grants to support courses for serving teachers.

The Teacher Training Agency has given out pound;21 million as part of a controversial overhaul of professional development.

But only those courses judged to help raise classroom standards in line with the Government agenda have benefited, leaving many well-established and respected providers out in the cold. Some training departments may close as a result.

In Hereford, Worcestershire and the West Country for example, teachers face a long drive if they want in-service help.

Oxford Brookes, the Open University, Liverpool University and Homerton College have all had their bids for money to run training courses refused. In the case of the OU, the loss amounts to more than pound;1 million of funding.

Tony Bates from Worcester College of Higher Education said: "The decision puts a serious question mark against our involvement in continuing professional development." In order to carry on, Worcester would have to charge schools and local authorities more.

Mr Bates, a member of the In-service and Professional Development Assocation, said: "Huge swathes of the country have been left without any HE-led service."

John Tomlinson academic secretary of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers described the new funding process as "arbitrary". He said the decisions would damage individual institutions and the national structure of training.

This year's allocation follows the Government agenda and all trainers will be open to inspection by the Office for Standards in Education.

TTA chief executive Anthea Millett said: "We are using every penny to ensure that pupils benefit from their teacher's training. Our new funding methodology puts the interests of pupils first and foremost. The days of providers getting these funds simply because they had them in the past rather than because of high-quality bids in support of government priorities, are over."

Ten of the 49 successful institutions are "new providers" including Barking and Dagenham Council, London, which has devised an approach to mathematics based on continental styles of teaching.

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