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Last Updated: Friday, 9 July, 2004, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Teacher training 'improving'
classroom assistant
There are now many more support staff helping teachers
Most new teachers think they were trained well but there are problems which the training agency says need addressing.

More than a third of new teachers in England think their training only adequately prepares them to control classroom behaviour.

The survey by the Teacher Training Agency had responses from almost 13,000 newly qualified teachers.

They reported major shortcomings in their preparedness to teach pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds and those with special educational needs.

The survey is discussed with training providers to help them identify issues they need to address.

'Raise our game'

The training agency's chief executive, Ralph Tabberer, said: "We still have a lot to do to keep up with the needs of schools.

"But by working closely with training providers on issues like behaviour management and by investing more in areas such as ICT, we can raise our game further.

"It is very important that schools have new teachers who can hit the ground running."

He took comfort from the findings that 84% of newly qualified teachers rated the overall quality of their training as good or very good, and three-quarters felt the same about the support and guidance they had received.


The survey showed that 63% felt "good or very good" about their preparation to establish and maintain good behaviour in the classroom.

This was four percentage points higher than in a similar survey last year.

But teachers' unions constantly complain about deteriorating standards of behaviour, and other surveys indicate that pupil indiscipline is a major cause of people leaving the profession within a few years of starting work.

Although the training agency highlighted the "good and very good" response rate, almost all of the others surveyed - 29% - said they felt at least "adequately" prepared.

It recently launched a website with resources and information on "positive approaches to classroom organisation and management".

On working with other teachers and classroom assistants, 65% felt their training prepared them well.

This is increasingly important, given the big rise in the number of classroom assistants and other support staff in the drive to cut teachers' workloads.

The training agency has also funded a resource network focusing on pupils from diverse backgrounds, and an associated website is due to be set up in the autumn.

Trainees' perceptions of their training to handle minority pupils had all improved this year - but from a low base ("good" or "very good", last year's figures in brackets):

  • pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds - 32% (30%)
  • with English as an additional language - 25% (20%)
  • with special educational needs 45% (43%).
Mr Tabberer said: "The universities, colleges and schools which provide initial teacher training have made great strides in tackling issues such as classroom behaviour and inclusion whilst adapting to new demands from the expanded role of teaching assistants and the introduction of the national strategies."

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