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Opportunities for the Church in teacher-training

11 October 2013


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 academies.

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
BD18 4HH

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