Broaden your training horizons

1st November 2002 at 00:00
THE Office for Standards in Education report which concludes that successful primary schools can maintain creativity and breadth in their lessons (TES, October 18) will be warmly welcomed. Yet a broad curriculum needs teachers who have been trained to teach it.

Not for the first time there seems to be a lack of joined-up thinking between different government agencies. Ofsted advocates a broad curriculum and the outgoing chief inspector Mike Tomlinson comments on the unacceptable narrowing of the primary curriculum. However, the Teacher Training Agency's new requirements for Initial Teacher Training ("Qualifying to Teach") narrow the compulsory core of the teacher training curriculum yet again.

It is no longer compulsory for ITT providers to train students to teach the whole primary curriculum. Courses can offer choices between certain foundation subjects, and in three years time, primary schools may be recruiting newly qualified teachers who may not have received any training at all in how to teach subjects like history, art or music. Of course, providers may well choose to offer more than the minimum legal requirement set out in the Qualified Teacher Status Standards, but the fact that current requirements legitimise the exclusion of subjects such as these speaks for itself.

At the very least, teachers will need an entitlement to extensive continuing professional development in order to be in a position to deliver this broad and balanced curriculum.

Helen Coll

Chair, National Association of Music Educators

Gordon Lodge, Snitterton Road

Matlock, Derbyshire

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