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Using medics as the model

Teachers should adopt the methods of the medical profession to raise the quality of school-based training, says a leading academic.

David Burghes, professor of education at Exeter university, said sending trainees to any school that would have them should stop. Instead, the Government should set up dedicated university practice schools along the lines of teaching hospitals.

There should be expert staff in the schools so trainers could refresh their teaching skills. "If you're in teacher training and not teaching regularly, you shouldn't be doing the job," he said.

Students could benefit by doing teaching practice in groups and observing expert teaching, he said.

Professor Burghes was speaking at a teacher-training conference organised by the right-wing think tank Politeia following its education commission's report, Teaching the Teachers.

Dr John Marenbon of Cambridge university, a member of the Politeia commission, said compulsory teacher training should be abolished and schools should decide what training, if any, was needed.

"Teachers are getting what they don't need, which is teacher training. What they do need, and don't get, is an education," he said.

Subject knowledge is the most important factor and the ability to teach flows from that, he said.

Professor Bob Moon, of the Open university, defended the need for minimum standards in education and said subject knowledge needed greater emphasis.

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