Eng: 'Teacher-training providers will take control as DfE confirms end of QTS tests'

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Eng: 'Teacher-training providers will take control as DfE confirms end of QTS tests'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:15 am

Teacher training providers will take control as DfE confirms end of QTS tests

Pippa Allen-Kinross

https://schoolsweek.co.uk/teacher-train ... qts-tests/

Teacher training providers will be responsible for making sure prospective teachers have adequate literacy and numeracy skills from October, as the government confirms it is axing the QTS skills tests.

Schools Week exclusively revealed last week that the government plans to ditch the numeracy and literacy skills entry tests, which prospective teachers must pass in order to start their training, following a consultation about whether the tests are fit for purpose.

In a written ministerial statement today, schools minister Nick Gibb confirmed the tests would end in just three months time.

The article above focuses on the removal of formal tests for student-entry for teacher training.

But with regard to training in reading instruction specifically, I wonder what inspection and quality control takes place for the actual teacher-training organisations in England?

I mention this with regard to the report written by Jennifer Buckingham and Linda Meeks summarising the state of play of teacher training in Australia.

Australia and England are in very different positions in that Minister Nick Gibb in England has been a committed supporter and promoter of the need for evidence-informed reading instruction including a big emphasis on the provision of systematic synthetic phonics. Consequently, various official guidance and initiatives have been followed-through in England including the introduction of a statutory Year One Phonics Screening Check since 2012.

But what is going on in all the universities and other teacher-training routes in England in real terms? In other words, quality control is not just about the literacy and numeracy levels of prospective student-teachers themselves, but about the quality of the teacher-training.

Take, for instance, the perplexing situation in England that the infamous Reading Recovery organisation is embedded at the Institute of Education. So, what are teachers to take on board regarding their training when Reading Recovery includes multi-cueing reading strategies and is very different from the systematic synthetic phonics teaching principles. These are opposing methods.

In England, systematic synthetic phonics is statutory and described in the National Curriculum for English for Key Stages 1 and 2. The multi-cueing word-guessing strategies of programmes like Reading Recovery are discredited.

And yet it is on the watch of Minister Nick Gibb and Ofsted (England's inspectorate) that teachers continue to get very contradictory training in how they should teach and support beginner readers.

Individuals have approached me with their worries and their evidence that the prevailing advice of literacy advisors in some local authorities is to train in Reading Recovery - not systematic synthetic phonics. I have passed this information on to some in higher educational and political authority but have no idea whether this worrying contradictory state of affairs has been addressed well enough or at all.

Ostriches with heads in sand spring to mind.

And so, what quality and content control is taking place in England for teacher-training when all said and done?

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