26/11/2003

Teacher training schools have 'positive effect': Ofsted

The government's training schools programme has had "a very positive effect on initial teacher training (ITT)" and represents "good value for money", according to a new report launched today by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted).

Under the first two phases of the programme, launched in 2000 and 2001 respectively, 82 schools were given training school status and were provided with extra funding by the Department of Education and Skills to develop and disseminate good practice in ITT and train teachers to mentor trainees.

An Evaluation of the Training Schools Programme found that almost 75% of the training schools visited by inspectors have taken increased numbers of teacher trainees. In some schools more than 100 trainees passed through the school each year.

David Bell, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools, said: "The training schools initiative has had an extremely positive impact on initial teacher training. Our inspectors found that trainees' evaluations of the quality of mentoring in these schools were overwhelmingly positive, and teachers in almost all of those visited felt the programme had improved their teaching and enhanced opportunities for their ongoing professional development."

The report found that: the large majority of training schools have achieved their objectives or have made significant progress towards meeting them; and two thirds of training schools attributed improvements in the recruitment and retention of teachers to involvement in the programme, with more than one third noting improvements in teacher morale.

However, the report recommends that training schools do more work to develop evaluation of the programme's impact on teaching and learning in their schools, and disseminate the outcomes of their work.

Only one third of the schools evaluated the impact of the programme on the quality of education and the standards achieved by the pupils, Ofsted said.

The report concluded that even for schools that had achieved some success in meeting their objectives, "they failed to make as much progress as they could because of a lack of self-evaluation".

(gmcg)

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