THE Government should make the biggest change to teaching in 40 years, by requiring all teachers to train to Master’s-degree level, a new report suggests.
In World-Class Teachers, World-Class Education, the executive director of the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers, James Noble-Rogers, argues that the requirement would, “at a stroke, boost the status of the profession and in so doing help to attract talented and ambitious new recruits”.
The report contains a collection of essays published by the Cathedrals Group (an association of 16 universities and university colleges with church foundations) and GuildHE (a representative body for UK higher education). A quarter of all primary-school teachers are educated by members of the Cathedrals Group.
“Now is the time for government and others to grasp the nettle and make the biggest step-change to the status, standing, and effectiveness of teaching since it became an all-graduate profession in the 1970s,” Mr Noble-Rogers writes. A Master’s degree should not be a requirement entry for new teachers, he says: rather, there would be “an expectation that new teachers would achieve a relevant Master’s degree or an equivalent qualification”. This would improve both recruitment and retention, he argues, at a time when, according to a recent poll by the National Union of Teachers, 53 per cent of teachers are thinking of leaving the profession.
In 2015-16, only 82 per cent of available initial-teaching-education training places were filled: in some secondary subjects the numbers were even worse.
Teachers need at least basic research skills in order to be able to navigate the demands of the classroom, and those that possess them “are capable of bringing about change”, the report says.
Contributors to the report also raise concerns about the shift from “school-university teacher education partnerships” to what the Government calls “school-led” teacher-training. The transition began under the former Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove, who argued that teaching was “best learnt as an apprentice observing a master craftsman or woman”.
“Teaching is not simply a craft that can be learned on the job, any more than surgery is a skill that can be picked up by watching an operation,” Professor Joy Carter, who chairs GuildHE, said last week. “Educating the next generation is a vocation that demands expert technique, yes, but also intellect, theory, educational innovations driven by robust research, and, importantly, an appreciation of values and ethics.
“This is a task for a strong and balanced alliance of universities and schools, and universities are essential.”
DDEs to receive leadership training. New training is to be offered to diocesan directors of education, drawing on secular management theory, but rooted in theology.
The 18-month leadership-development programme has been commissioned by the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership, in partnership with the Association of Anglican Directors of Education. A press release issued this week said that it would be “rooted deeply in Christian theology”, and available to both “aspirant” and newly appointed directors of education, besides those with significant experience. One of the outcomes envisaged is that participants will be “increasingly self-aware” and have “an understanding of the impact of their own leadership style on others”.
Interested parties, which could include business schools, are invited to submit an outline proposal by 26 June. The training will begin next spring, with a cohort of 20 delegates recruited by the Foundation.
The Foundation is already working with University College, London, and Deloitte to train CEOs of multi-academy trusts. Last year, it launched a professional qualification for head teachers, in partnership with Liverpool Hope University.