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EDITIONS
Sunday, 25 March, 2001, 18:55 GMT 19:55 UK
Flexible teacher training booms
Teacher working in classroom
Delegates heard that training programmes must be modernised
by BBC News Online's Katherine Sellgren at the SHA conference in Newport

Flexible routes into teacher training are proving highly popular and will account for 10% of all applications this year, according to the Teacher Training Agency.


We are only anticipating that the flexible routes will expand

Ralph Tabberer
Its chief executive, Ralph Tabberer, told delegates at the Secondary Heads Association's (SHA) conference in Newport, Gwent, that options to study part-time and through the graduate teacher programme had been enormously successful.

Mr Tabberer said: "We are only anticipating that the flexible routes will expand.

"Until 2001 applicants coming in through these routes were in the low hundreds, but in September this year 3,000 people will come in this way."

Such a rapid change in the way candidates were choosing to study pointed to the need to explain all the new routes to avoid confusion, he told SHA delegates.

30,000 recruits

The teaching profession recruited up to 30,000 graduates a year and was the biggest graduate recruiter, he said.

"If we're going to compete in a changing market then we need to look at that market and we all need to raise our game," Mr Tabberer stressed.

He said: "We need to look at career mobility and career breaks."

Training courses needed to be modernised, with over half of those training to be teachers aged 25 or more and a third aged 30 or more.

School involvement

Schools were urged to play a more significant role in the training of teachers, by getting involved with the graduate teacher programme and initial teacher training.

"We're finding it increasingly hard to get people to get involved in teacher training," the TTA chief executive said.

It was also important head teachers saw to the management of individual teachers' careers.

"People have lots of choices now and some get their careers managed superbly, but we've got to match them and people see where they're going," he said.

Teacher crsis

The current shortage of teachers was put down to low recruitment in the 1980s, when targets for recruitment were set at too low levels.

Targets set for the 1990s had not been met and too many teachers had been allowed to "seep away", Mr Tabberer explained.

There was also the paradox of success, where rising standards, a better quality of teaching and leadership and an expanding sector were creating up to 7,000 new posts.

Retention of teachers and the question of returners had been ignored, he said.

But Mr Tabberer remained optimistic about the future, with improved prospects for teachers and a more structured career ladder.

See also:

13 Feb 01 | UK Education
30 Oct 00 | UK Education
07 Mar 01 | UK Education
10 Feb 01 | UK Education
Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


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