What the teacher trainers...and trainee teachers say

25th September 1998 at 01:00
Jean McKay, dean of the school of education, University of Wolverhampton:

"All institutes were able to check data to be included in the performance profiles, so they should not hold many surprises. A key issue will be how the media handle it, and turn the assessments into league tables.

"I don't think manipulation of data by the media will help give a fair profile of the nature of service offered to students, or help them in making a choice on the course.

"We'd endorse profiles that assist students and help institutes improve performance by providing benchmarks, but this should be overlaid by a concern for the seriousness of recruitment problems."

Jim Graham, head of education and community studies, University of East London: "We've no objection to offering sound information to students, but we want evidence that the information provided is what they want to know.

"The danger is that league tables will create an illusion of a quasi-market between competing training providers. What the Teacher Training Agency should be doing is enhancing the quality of all teaching programmes, not creating an artificial pecking order.

"The single greatest threat to education is the failure of the TTA to create a sufficient teaching supply. The best way to alleviate the crisis is to distribute access to training across the country. Students often need to study close to home for financial reasons."

Professor Jim Campbell, director of the Institute of Education, University of Warwick: "I'm in favour of publishing more information on teacher-training colleges, but I don't think inspections - which we've done well under - are a fair and reliable way of assessing training courses. With all league tables, there is a lot of background that never comes out.

"For most of our secondary courses, we received 'outstanding' marks from OFSTED, but for one course it was only 'good' or 'satisfactory' and that was because it had just started up.

"Teacher-training colleges operate in a market of consumer choice. Students may come to Warwick because they have studied here before, or because their partner lives nearby. It's unlikely an undergraduate from Cambridge would look at the tables and decide to go to the West Midlands because we performed well."

Erivan White, graduate taking a PGCE in adult education at the University of Surrey: "Although it has a good reputation, I chose the University of Surrey because it's close to where I live and I know I can get work nearby to support myself financially during the course.

"I saw that virtually all the course graduates have found work, which was enough to persuade me. I suppose league tables might impress on people how successful colleges have been, but for me, the location was the most important thing."

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