From the Revd Barry Miller
Sir, - Professor John Howson (Education, 20
September) provided a helpful description and analysis of the
changes that are affecting teacher education. The movement towards
more school-based teacher- training was given impetus when the
Teacher Training Agency was established some 20 years ago. The most
recent development of Schools Direct has already had a significant
impact on the education departments of all universities, not least
those of the Cathedral Group.
As illustrated in his article, many of these institutions, if
not all, have found ways of responding positively by working with
local alliances and partnerships.
I believe that there is also the opportunity for another way in
which the Church might maintain and, indeed, reclaim its stake in
teacher education. The growth of the Government's academy policy
has already resulted in a rapidly growing number of new academies
sponsored by the Church, both by diocesan boards and the creation
of multi-academy trusts. A growing number of these are primary
I would suggest that the sponsors and local governing bodies
encourage the formation of alliances between these academies and
seek partnerships with well-established university education
departments to encourage the recruitment of trainees into the
Schools Direct programme. Of course this may well require some
additional resources, but there are potentially many benefits.
The Church would be making an important contribution to
recruiting teachers who may well wish to build a career within the
faith-schools sector; trainees, well mentored, can provide extra
human resources to aid pupils' learning; and within church
academies trainees would experience at close quarters what the
special ethos of a Christian learning community might be.
Beechcroft, Nab Lane
Shipley, West Yorkshire