The Scottish Executive will launch the next phase of its lengthy review of teacher education on Monday when the Education Minister visits Bruntsfield primary in Edinburgh. Peter Peacock will meet probationer teachers from the second intake to the one-year training placement.
The review is the second round of the investigation mounted by consultants from Deloitte and Touche. The first, published as far back as June 2001, concentrated on relations between local authorities and the teacher education institutions (TEIs), and looked at student teacher placements in schools (TESS, July 13, 2001).
That report heralded a fundamental review, suggesting a move towards "learning how to learn" and away from "proximate skills and knowledge which will become redundant". The input of research into the content of training courses is also likely to feature.
Training is currently concentrated in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ayr, Dundee, Stirling and Aberdeen but the Executive has signalled its support for new initiatives such as the delivery of teacher training through distance learning in a link-up between Aberdeen University and Highland Council.
The General Teaching Council for Scotland has criticised the current arrangements as a "central belt activity" which is at odds with the desire of ministers for a much wider recruitment pool, targeting mature entrants, men, those changing careers, people who are not in any profession at all and candidates from rural areas who might find it difficult to attend TEIs for full-time study.
There seems unlikely to be much support for the idea, floated in the McCrone report, that lecturers should be sent back to school to refresh their experience. The first Deloitte and Touche report recommended instead that teaching staff should be seconded to training institutions to improve links with schools.