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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 01:49 GMT
Teacher training scheme praised
Class
The scheme had better than usual results
A scheme that places teacher trainees in tough secondary schools has been praised by education inspectors.

The Teach First scheme puts graduates in challenging schools for a year while they train. They continue to teach as qualified teachers in the second year.

Ofsted found the trainees, who tended to be highly motivated graduates, had a beneficial effect in transforming underperforming departments.

Teach First works in schools in London, the North West and the Midlands.

But more work was needed to improve the scheme's effectiveness, the report said.

For example, trainees in the 28 schools visited by Ofsted who found aspects of teaching difficult were not always given enough support to deal with this.

Mentoring needed to be improved, Ofsted said.

Now I see teaching as a really worthy profession
TeachFirst participant

However, the scheme had better results than many other teacher training programmes.

About half of the 202 trainees completing the first year of the programme achieved the Standards for Qualified Teacher Status at the outstanding level.

A third were marked as good, with the remainder rated as satisfactory.

"The outstanding level of achievement of the four best trainees seen was so uniformly high across the range of standards that they were judged by inspectors to be amongst the most exceptional trainees produced by any teacher training route, " the report said.

Many of the trainees spoke passionately about how their perceptions of teaching had changed and how they now relished its challenge.

One said she had always believed she had the intellectual capability to be a teacher,

'Backbone'

In reflecting on her experiences, she expressed her admiration for teachers, saying: "I had no idea before of just how skilful and talented good teachers are.

"Now I see teaching as a really worthy profession."

The training aspect of the scheme is run by Canterbury Christ Church University in partnership with a group of London schools.

A Department for Children, Schools and Families spokesman said the scheme was producing exceptional trainees, who have the imagination and skills to transform their schools and raise the aspirations.

"Teachers are the backbone of our education system. We know that the most important factor in education, alongside the input of parents, is the quality of teachers."



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