Revamped course bids for approval

18th September 1998 at 01:00
The Teacher Training Agency is to be urged to resurrect primary teacher education in Southampton a year after its sole provider closed because of poor standards, writes Nicolas Barnard.

Chichester Institute of Higher Education wants to start a new undergraduate initial teacher-training course aimed at mature students after helping successfully pick up the pieces of the failed La Sainte Union.

LSU shut down last year after the TTA removed its accreditation. Chichester Institute - along with King Alfred's College, Winchester, Southampton's nearest primary ITT centre - took on its 400 undergraduates, continuing to teach them at the LSU's former base. PGCE students moved to Southampton University.

Chichester's restructured course has been passed by the Office for Standards in Education. But the loss of TTA accreditation means it cannot enrol new students.

Peter Coles, Hampshire's director of education, warned that LSU's closure could create a shortage of new teachers in an area which includes two of the south coast's largest cities - Southampton and Portsmouth. The TTA had already halved LSU's intake after an earlier unsatisfactory report, and Mr Coles urged that cut to be restored, not compounded.

Philip Robinson, director of Chichester Institute, said a bid would now be made to the TTA in the light of the OFSTED report to restore undergraduate primary teacher training at Southampton.

"We are most concerned about mature candidates. There are many people in their 30s who have started families and decided to become teachers. But it's harder for them to move to study. We want to run a course designed for them,'' he said.

Chichester would set up the course but discuss its running with Southampton University, which took over LSU's premises and non-teacher training courses. A new director arrives in October.

Training and assessment on the revamped ITT course were judged to be good, while students' subject knowledge and classroom skills were adequate. In particular, "very good progress'' had been made in building partnerships with schools.

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