When it comes to recruiting teachers it’s no secret that the talent pool is shrinking. We recently wrote about succession planning – the overpowering message was that when it comes to recruitment and retention – at any level, in any area – professional development should play a vital role; one such solution is in-school training
Here Emma Hollis, executive director of The National Association of School Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), discusses the importance of teacher educators and why they also need professional development
It was pleasing to see Damian Hinds, the new secretary of state for education, saying in his first speech to heads at the recent Association of School and College Leaders conference that tackling teacher shortage is a ‘top priority’
For five successive years recruitment targets for teaching have been missed and, whilst the background to this is complex, schools have complained of the expense and disruption of relying on temporary staff or having to use teachers who are not specialists in the subjects they are teaching; schools are spending £835m per year on supply agencies, according to government figures.
Diluted by rhetoric
Most of the rhetoric is around in-school recruitment and retention, but those who may not always get the attention they need are the people responsible for the education of teachers from the start. There has never been a more important time for investment in school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) providers and, especially, teacher educators whose remit it is to provide schools with high-quality candidates. That’s why we have launched a suite of Teacher Educator Programmes to develop the knowledge and skills of those people working in schools who support and educate other teachers – discussions with our members revealed there was a clear need for these.
Increasingly, teacher education is happening in schools – designed and facilitated by teachers, for teachers. This is not just in the field of schools-led ITT but, with the expansion of teaching schools and large CPD departments in multi-academy trusts, across the whole spectrum of a teacher’s career. However, whilst there has been a revolution in the way teachers are being educated, there has been no corresponding growth in professional development opportunities for those who are taking up these teacher educator posts.
Supporting school-based teacher educators
Our Teacher Educator Programmes are tailor-made for school-based teacher educators and are written and quality assured by expert current practitioners. Our level 4 programmes are specifically designed for managers of SCITT and School Direct programmes, whilst the levels 1 to 3 programmes are suitable for all teacher educators including newly-appointed mentors, coaches, CPD co-ordinators, CPD facilitators and teaching school managers.
The term ‘level’ attached to each programme is used in the layman’s sense; it does not equate to HEI or any other levels but is there to indicate a sense of progression and the seniority of the intended audience. Each programme consists of a number of modules and includes some face-to-face training sessions at a central location.
Our aim is to provide a clear pathway for teachers interested in developing their careers into teacher education whilst remaining in schools. The uptake of these so far has been incredibly positive and we will host more in the 2018-19 academic year. By offering licensing opportunities to our members we will also roll out these programmes across the country.