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Teaching Scotland's Future - Report of a review of teacher education in Scotland


Appendix 1: Remit and approach

The remit for the review was:

To consider the best arrangements for the full continuum of teacher education in primary and secondary schools in Scotland. The Review should consider initial teacher education, induction and professional development and the interaction between them.

Specifically the Review was asked to address:

  • What kinds of teachers do we want teacher education to develop? What model of professionalism should underpin our approach? How can teacher education support the flexibility in the profession that Curriculum for Excellence requires? We want to develop effective teachers who are confident leaders of learning and teaching and confident working in partnership with each other, parents and the whole range of professionals that support young people. How will teacher education support that?
  • How do we organise the initial qualification, induction and professional development throughout their careers of teachers in a way that is coherent and effective?
  • What model of teacher education is right moving forward? Does our current model of university based education supplemented by school placement still make sense? Does it need to be the only model? How should Scotland react to the international trend towards Masters level qualification? Could schools/local authorities themselves take a larger role in teacher education, perhaps in partnership with higher education?
  • Teacher education in Scotland has struggled to cope with the fluctuation in intakes driven by workforce planning decisions. Are there arrangements that could be made that mitigate such pressures?
  • How do we ensure teachers are educated in a manner that takes account of the geography of Scotland and the need to ensure effective supply of teachers in all parts of the country? How do we ensure continued/better access to teacher education to non-traditional prospective students? What qualities should drive selection of student teachers?


Principles underpinning the Review

  • Inclusivity - stakeholders to be fully engaged in and share ownership of the Review. Web-based discussion forums to be a part of that approach.
  • Evidence based - the Review should look at evidence from home and abroad about what works in teacher education and development.
  • Openness - nothing should be ruled out and nothing ruled in.
  • Pace - the Review should report by the end of 2010.

The Review focused strongly throughout on the impact any proposed change might have on outcomes for pupils.

Process and Timing

The Review was led by Graham Donaldson, supported by a small team of seconded staff. He was based in Learning and Teaching Scotland during the Review.

The Review was supported by a Reference Group which was drawn from each of the main groups covered by its remit. The Reference Group met on five occasions over the period March to December 2010.

The Review began in February 2010 and reported to Scottish Ministers in December 2010.


The Review adopted an open approach to its remit. It examined evidence about effective approaches to teacher education from within Scotland, elsewhere in the UK and internationally. It sought and considered evidence from all interested parties. As it progressed, the Review promoted further open discussion about emerging issues. In addition to wider media discussion and supported discussions at local authority meetings and the Scottish Learning Festival, the Review website became an interactive forum, encouraging wider involvement in helping to shape the conclusions of the Review.

Literature Review

A literature review was commissioned to 'understand the contribution that teacher education can make to the quality and effectiveness of the educational experience and wider personal development of young people, drawing on effective practice in Scotland and elsewhere'. The literature review had four objectives

  • To provide a high-level overview of the current model of teacher education in Scotland, and to identify current strengths and areas for improvement.
  • To identify other education systems (which are broadly comparable to Scotland) that have undergone a significant curricular change, have seen a recent rise in educational standards or are already high performing, and explore the contribution of teacher education to their overall strategy, drawing out learning appropriate to Scotland.
  • To explore the relationships between forms of teacher education and the enhancement of professionalism, and between enhanced professionalism and pupil outcomes.
  • To provide an overview of effective practice in evaluating the impact and effectiveness of teacher education.

The literature review can be found on the Review website - www.reviewofteachereducationinscotland.org.uk

Call for Evidence

A formal call for evidence was issued on 16 April and closed on 14 June 2010. Throughout that time it was available on the Review website. The call for evidence sought respondents' views on initial teacher education, induction and continuing professional development, looking at both current practice and future need. Letters were sent to a wide range of stakeholders inviting them to respond to the call for evidence. The call for evidence received 99 submissions from organisations and individuals. Respondents were given the option for their submission to be made publicly available. Where the respondent was content, the submission can be found in on the Review website and in the Scottish Government library. The responses to the call for evidence that were received prior to 28 June were analysed by George Street Research. Any responses received after that date were analysed by the Review team. The report by George Street research can also be found on the Review website.

Teacher Survey

The teacher survey was launched on 16 April and closed on 14 June. The survey was developed with the assistance of the Scottish Government Analytical Services Unit (Education) using the Questback survey tool. It contained 56 questions, 53 of which were multiple choice and three of which allowed free text responses. The survey sought views from serving teachers and headteachers on their experiences of initial teacher education, induction/probation and continuing professional development. It could be accessed from the Review team website and was publicised through e-mails to directors of education and schools, through the LTS newsletter and the Scottish Government website. Although not fully representative, the teacher survey received 2381 responses. GTCS registration numbers and/or e-mail addresses were sought from respondents to prevent duplication of response. It is recognised that this may have resulted in a lower response rate.

Some respondents encountered technical difficulties in trying to complete the survey. These included the survey being blocked by the security software used in their school/local authority and the survey displaying incorrectly due to the web package on the computer. In addition some teachers contacted the Review to explain that due to the length of time since they had undertaken initial teacher education they did not feel qualified to respond to those sections of the questionnaire related to initial teacher education. Where respondents contacted the Review team to discuss these difficulties they were encouraged to provide comment by e-mail.

Stakeholder meetings

Between March and November 2010 the Review team met with a wide range of stakeholders including teacher education providers, representative bodies from education and the wider community, local authorities, teachers and head teachers, parents and pupils. Discussions with these stakeholders throughout all phases provided further evidence and views which informed and refined the recommendations of the Review.

Over the course of the Review, the Review team visited nine local authorities. The team visited two schools in each authority, speaking to teachers either in groups or individually, and in some cases to pupil councils. The team spoke to approximately 150 teachers and 30 pupil council representatives in primary and secondary schools.

Where the Review team did not visit a local authority, HMIE was asked to gather data from teachers on their experiences of induction and CPD and they submitted this as part of the evidence for the Review. The analysis is published on the Review website.

As well as meeting stakeholders with an interest in teacher education in Scotland, the Review team met with individuals and organisations with an interest in teacher education outside Scotland - in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Canada and Australia.

The full register of stakeholder engagement can be found on the Review website.

Engagement through technology

The Review used the Glow network to seek the views of teachers and pupils across Scotland and ran a 'Glowing Thursday' discussion. The Review also used the 'Engage for Education' website to reach out to people interested in education but without access to a Glow account. Twenty-four responses were received to its 'Teachers for Tomorrow' discussion by 24 November 2010.

The Review team, with the assistance of the Learning School, took part in a 'Learnover' where young people from eight countries around the world discussed what made a good teacher. The views of young people were also sought through an online survey run on behalf of the Review by Young Scot. This survey received 52 responses from participants aged between 11 and 18 years.

A question of the week was posed on the Review website, highlighting each aspect of the formal call for evidence. The blog feed on these questions was monitored and responses grouped into emerging themes to be pursued. Where respondents did not wish to publish their responses publicly they could e-mail the Review team directly.

Individual meetings

Throughout the period of the Review, Graham Donaldson had an extensive range of one-to-one meetings with individuals who provided valuable insights into different aspects of teacher education.

Analysis of responses

Responses to the call for evidence and the teacher questionnaire were collated and analysed by an independent research company. The results of their analysis can be accessed on the Review website.

'Hub teaching schools' would give tangible expression to the kind of deeper and stronger partnerships between universities and schools advocated throughout the report. A hub school would have a direct link to a university and national bodies and would offer school-led support to teachers across the community or cluster. They would have met the quality standards for placements recommended in this report, and would be models of outstanding practice in school improvement and teacher education.