Baroness Donaghy calls a motion in the House of Lords debate Initial Teacher Education

Members of the House of Lords on Thursday 18 November discussed the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Market Review and the impact of its recommendations on initial teacher education. Members called on the Government to rethink their proposals. Baroness Morris of Yardley invited the Government to have: 'A more open approach with the partners — before we have gone too far and lost too much.' 

Baroness Donaghy, who had called the debate, described the Government's 10 years of changes to initial teacher education and training as:

 'Sweeping...confusing, wasteful and bureaucratic'  

And, the current proposed reforms as a: 

'Quasi-judicial centralist system that threatens academic freedom and crushes innovation. It [the Government] is trying to delineate teaching as a tightly drawn craft, rather than a profession, increasing the pressure on teachers without recognition or rewards, and risking teacher supply to the extent that I accuse the Government of irresponsibility.' 

Ahead of the debate, The Earl Clancarty, vice-chair of our subject's All-Party Group, was briefed by NSEAD. He addressed the need for any changes to ITT to be less generic; to be made through a lens of individual subjects and that any changes should be subject-led:

'This is important because the objective of such change, if change is necessary, should be to maximise the best way or ways possible to teach each one of these subjects, so that the result is higher-quality teaching of and greater access to each subject for pupils.Crucially, this also means having a sufficient number of specialist teachers where required, and specialist knowledge and practice, which is ever-changing and ever-developing.

'An educational ecosystem that allows a deepening of a subject’s understanding for teaching will necessarily accommodate influence from outside school; good influence always comes from the outside. Ultimately, schools cannot feed on themselves to nurture and nourish good teaching. The end result would inevitably be the stultifying of school education.

'The current ecosystem in which university involvement is an integral part of teacher recruitment and education is therefore both beneficial and necessary, not least because such teaching will bring with it a critical vision which will be communicated to students and replenish the school. Indeed, what the Government refer to as “consistently high quality training” should be directly geared to these goals. This is clearly not the case with the current government proposals.'

The Earl Clancarty also addressed the impact of removing arts ITT bursaries, asking how if at all, their removal addressed diversity and representation in the profession and specifically in our subject:

How, too, would these proposals address representation in the teaching profession? The Runnymede Trust will produce its own report next year on representation in arts education, but the DfE reported in 2017 that only 6% of art and design teachers were from ethnically diverse communities, compared with 31% of the student population. Bursaries and scholarships alongside other strategies could be used to help address this imbalance.'

Read the full Hansard debate here