Shortages are not our fault

5th September 2003 at 01:00
I would like to correct some errors in the article "Inspection may block early-years recruits" (TES, August 8). The changes to the requirements for initial teacher training, to which the article refers, were introduced by the Department for Education and Skills in Qualifying to Teach in 2002 and not by the Office for Standards in Education.

In developing the new inspection framework, we were at pains to ensure that we did not introduce any requirements beyond those of the Secretary of State.

It is very hard to see how any alleged changes in the supply of early-years or sixth-form specialist teachers can be the result of inspection.

Shortages in the supply of suitable training placements, either in early-years settings or for post-16 teaching, are important constraints in the teacher-training system but cannot be attributed to Ofsted.

However, where, for whatever reason, trainees are not receiving the training they were promised or have a right to expect, Ofsted must make this public.

Cliff Gould Head of teacher education Office for Standards in Education, London SE1

The Editor writes: Our story suggested that the more rigorous inspection requirements for sustained and significant placements in all age groups covered by teacher training, combined with existing difficulties in getting placements in sixth-forms and early-years settings, are leading some universities to reduce the age ranges of their courses.

We believe we were right to report that this could constrict the supply of teachers trained to work with the youngest and oldest children.

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