Introducing the fast-track training scheme Teach First would “not be a good move for Scottish education”, say researchers.
Teach First teachers begin working in schools in England after a six week intensive summer school and then train on the job. The goal is to complete the PGCE at the end of the first year.
However, the evidence shows that teachers who qualify through this route are more likely to leave the profession and view teaching as “a temporary proposition and an intermediary step”, researchers from the University of Glasgow have found.
They cite analysis by the Department for Education in England, which found that Teach First teachers were five times more likely to leave the profession than those who had undergone “a traditional postgraduate teacher education”.
Stephen Parker (pictured, right), who analysed the research with Trevor Gale, head of the University of Glasgow’s school of education, said: “The evidence shows that Teach First would not be a good move for Scottish education. One of the main issues is that teachers who go through Teach First tend to stay two years as required and have high drop-out rates after those two years.”
The appeal of Teach First came because people were looking for simple solutions to complex problems like closing the attainment gap, Dr Parker continued. However, there was danger in assuming that because a graduate knew their subject well they would make a good teacher, he said.
According to the research – entitled Teach First, Ask Questions Later – Teach First graduates “tend to engage in restricted pedagogical approaches”, such as whole-of-class lessons.
Dr Parker concluded: “Schools of education in Scotland do not feel that this is the solution and, if there are any changes to be made to how teachers are recruited and trained and allocated to schools, then that can and should be resolved within existing structures, rather than bringing in a new approach.”
The Scottish government told TESS it had “no plans to introduce the model of school-based education used in England”.