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

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Chapter 4: Building twenty-first century teachers and leaders: the early phase

The period covering initial teacher education, induction and the early years of employment lays the foundations of professional values, knowledge and expertise of those who will be our teachers and educational leaders. Currently the stages in the early phase of a teacher's learning operate largely independently. This chapter examines this early phase and argues that, in order to improve coherence of these stages of teacher education and maximise their impact on the learning of students and teachers, it should operate as a single, planned early phase in career-long professional development.

Teacher education should be seen as and should operate as a continuum, spanning a career and requiring much better alignment across and much closer working amongst schools, authorities, universities and national organisations.

Background

Since 1984, initial teacher education qualifications in Scotland have been delivered through degree level studies. Initially these were provided in the colleges of education which, following the Sutherland Report24, subsequently merged with universities across Scotland.

'On academic grounds, I believe that the proposals that I have put forward ...point, inevitably, towards the provision of teacher education within a broader intellectual context than can be provided by a monotechnic. ...There are also strong arguments that the student experience in Scotland is likely to be enhanced through being educated in a broader HE context and, indeed, that the staff experience will be strengthened through contact with, or integration into, the research environment of a university.'

Initial teacher education in Scotland is currently provided by the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Strathclyde, Highlands and Islands and the West of Scotland, with the Open University in Scotland making a small amount of specialist provision. All initial teacher education programmes require to be approved by Scottish Ministers under Regulation 4 of the Teachers (Education, Training and Recommendation for Registration) (Scotland) Regulations 1993. The Standard for Initial Teacher Education provides the key statement of purpose for initial teacher education, and the GTCS 'Guidelines for Initial Teacher Education Courses in Scotland' (2006) state this overall aim of initial teacher education:

' The overall aim of programmes of initial teacher education is to prepare student teachers to become competent, thoughtful, reflective and innovative practitioners, who are committed to providing high quality teaching and learning for all pupils. Programmes must ensure that student teachers meet the requirements of the Standard for Initial Teacher Education. The means by which such professionals will be developed is through programmes whose design match in with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education's requirements and the Standard for Initial Teacher Education in Scotland.'

Initial teacher education in Scotland currently centres in large measure around the four-year undergraduate route leading to the BEd degree and the one-year PGDE. In addition, the University of Stirling provides long-established concurrent BA and BSc programmes, and other universities have been actively developing new models including combinations such as an MA with Education (Aberdeen) and an MSc with a teaching qualification (Strathclyde). The rationale for such combined degrees is that they provide flexibility and ensure that teachers, particularly primary teachers, have a broad education as a good basis for their future roles. Initial teacher education programmes are subject to regular review and reaccreditation by the GTCS. The GTCS also determines the eligibility for registration of those who gain qualifications outwith Scotland.

Table 4.1 numbers of student teachers in Scotland following different programmes

2000- 01

2001- 02

2002- 03

2003- 04

2004- 05

2005- 06

2006- 07

2007- 08

2008- 09

2009- 10

2010-11 (planned)

Primary PGDE

335

745

592

706

1023

1482

1599

1517

1743

1388

400

Primary BEd

708

745

773

755

768

780

786

784

968

1126

700

Secondary PDGE

991

1116

935

982

1340

1798

1763

1294

1085

966

800

Secondary BEd

175

201

175

175

183

191

186

180

174

173

200

Total

2209

2807

2475

2618

3314

4251

4334

3775

3970

3653

2100

The Teacher Induction Scheme was introduced in 2002 to offer all new teachers qualifying from Scottish universities a paid year-long placement in a mainstream school, giving them support to achieve the Standard for Full Registration. The scheme is managed and administered by the GTCS on behalf of the Scottish Government. It provides each new probationer teacher with school-based mentoring and support, as well as a programme of CPD led by the local authority. Probationary teachers have a maximum class commitment of 0.7 full-time-equivalent ( FTE). This allows dedicated time for their professional development, including observing and working with experienced teachers.

The scheme represented a radical change in approaches to managing and supporting new teachers in Scotland. Prior to the introduction of the scheme in 2002, new teachers were 'provisionally registered' for the equivalent of two years full time, with schools completing interim reports and a final report which recommended whether or not full registration should be granted. Levels of support for new teachers varied hugely under the previous system, and some teachers completed their probation through short-term appointments in a range of different schools. Short-term supply contracts often lasted for just one or two days, with no support or preparation time. Apart from those who gained permanent or long-term temporary work, probationers were often being exposed to a disparate range of experiences in different schools and different local authorities. The 2000 McCrone Report witheringly described this way of gaining full registration as 'little short of scandalous'.

The Scottish teacher induction scheme is admired by many countries around the world, and the entitlement to a guaranteed year of full-time teaching in one school for all graduates from initial teacher education in Scotland was described as 'world-class' by the OECD in 2007. The success of the induction year placement for new teachers relies upon the quality of the support and challenge they receive from their mentors. Mentors are experienced teachers who are released from other duties for 0.1 FTE. The selection and training of mentors is critical and will be discussed later in this section.

Probationary teachers who choose not to accept a place on the induction year can embark on the flexible route to achieving the Standard for Full Registration. The flexible route involves probationers working towards meeting the Standard over a period of up to 270 days of teaching service and engaging in a CPD programme relevant to the subject(s) in which they qualified. This flexible route may take place in any combination of publicly-funded schools across Scotland.

Strengths of current provision in initial teacher education and induction

Evidence provided to the Review, the academic literature and additional research highlight notable strengths in current practice in initial teacher education and early career learning.

University-based provision for initial teacher education

Initial teacher education in Scotland has a long, strong tradition of providing high quality teachers for Scottish schools. Many respondents to our survey cited university-based provision and an emphasis on research-informed practice as important strengths of initial teacher education in Scotland. They emphasised the value of a strong intellectual and academic dimension to initial teacher education and the positive contribution of research to inquiry-based practice.

Whilst all initial teacher education in Scotland is now provided within universities, in other countries, including England and the USA, struggles around the 'positioning' of initial teacher education have been particularly visible during the past ten years as part of a continuing debate about the content and process of teacher education.

Competitive entry to the profession

It is a strength that entry to the profession in Scotland is highly competitive and that application rates to initial teacher education programmes have continued to be strong, with an applicant to offer ratio of around eight to one. McKinsey (2007) notes that successful education systems tend to have high competition for places in teacher education. Highly selective entry continues to allow selection of well-qualified students in Scotland.

Diversification of routes beginning to emerge

There is evidence of encouraging developments including the emergence of more online and 'blended' types of learning to enable prospective entrants to study part-time and at a distance. Other models include universities, colleges and local authorities working together to improve the supply of new teachers for more remote communities. New approaches to concurrent degree programmes have the potential to offer graduates opportunities for wider and deeper study. Combining a primary teaching qualification with degree level subject content, such as a modern European language, can strengthen knowledge and skills both for teaching and, if necessary, for other forms of employment.

Reflective, inquiring approaches taken by many new teachers

The ability of probationer teachers to reflect on and evaluate their ongoing development, using the Standard for Full Registration, is also a strength. Many local authorities require teachers to undertake and share action-based research projects within their first year, to use and further develop their skills in inquiry. The most successful newly-qualified teachers continue with a reflective, inquiring approach to their role in the classroom and their professional development. They can apply these higher order skills, developed through university programmes, to identify and address the needs of each individual learner in their care.

The impact of new teachers in schools

Much of the evidence gathered in the course of the Review affirms the many positive features and characteristics that new teachers often bring to schools. They are often optimistic, generate discussion about new ideas and approaches, and are positive in their attitude to educational change and finding solutions to problems or difficulties. Many teachers who are taking part in the induction scheme contribute a great deal to the wider life of the school. They are enhancing their professional development through participating in working groups and taking responsibility for aspects of school life.

The entitlement to a guaranteed year-long placement

There is recognition nationally and internationally that the entitlement to a guaranteed placement for one year in one school is a major strength of the induction scheme. All graduates from Scottish universities who choose to take part benefit from a well-structured, year-long placement during which time they have the opportunity to reach the Standard for Full Registration and become a fully qualified teacher. The scheme is geographically equitable across Scotland and aims to ensure a continuous professional experience within a supported environment for a year. As one professional association stated:

' The guaranteed induction year is one of the strengths of the current system in Scotland. Teachers on the induction year have a chance to put into practice what they have learned and to build on their existing skills. There is time built in to allow them to reflect on their experiences. Having students and probationers in schools forces those schools to consider their practices'.

Self-regulation

The GTCS Guidelines for Initial Teacher Education are used to inform the accreditation of all initial teacher education programmes. This engages the profession itself in the scrutiny of initial teacher education programmes. Accreditation processes are characterised by cooperation and peer review. These processes are now relatively non-bureaucratic and rely to a significant extent on universities' own quality assurance procedures, as well as ensuring a match with the professional standards (Menter, 2008) 25.

Maximising relevance and impact in the early phase of a teacher's education

In spite of these strengths, the evidence provided to the Review demonstrates that the current components of the early phase of a teacher's professional learning cannot, as currently configured, address well enough or consistently enough the challenging purpose outlined at the start of this chapter.

Overall, the evidence gathered by the Review indicates that recently-qualified teachers, probationers and students are generally satisfied with their experience in initial teacher education and induction. The range of programmes which they had followed had naturally led to a very diverse range of experiences, but there was also variability in the depth and quality of their experiences and relatively little common ground between them. New teachers commonly raised two particular concerns: many felt that there were some significant specific gaps in their skills and knowledge which sometimes left them feeling under-prepared for their induction year; and there was a lack of continuity within and beyond their programme of initial teacher education.

The evidence indicates the following areas where change would be beneficial:

  • coherence and progression;
  • variability in quality;
  • preparing for becoming a teacher, including addressing gaps;
  • gaining more from placements;
  • capitalising more fully on expertise;
  • beginning to develop extended professionalism, including preparation for distributive leadership roles and partnership working.

Initial teacher education - what should it contain?

Any expectation that initial teacher education will cover all that a new teacher needs to know and do is clearly unrealistic. In discussions about coverage in both one- and four-year programmes, university staff frequently referred to the impossibility of including in an initial teacher education programme all that would ever be required of teachers. They indicated that they had regularly tried to respond to a multitude of additional external demands and expectations and that there was a risk that the depth of study could suffer when there is significant pressure to increase breadth of study. This problem is particularly acute in the case of the one-year primary PGDE. In 2007, the OECD 26 summarised the international evidence on this matter, concluding that: 'initial education cannot provide teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary for a life-time of teaching. The education and professional development of every teacher needs to be seen as a lifelong task, and be structured and resourced accordingly'.

Chart 4.1 sets out teachers' perceptions of those aspects of their initial teacher education which they found most helpful in preparation for their first post.

Chart 4.1: Most useful aspects of course, in terms of areas of learning, in preparation for first post (where a score of '1' denotes most useful and a score of '12' denotes least useful

Chart 4.1: Most useful aspects of course, in terms of areas of learning, in preparation for first post (where a score of '1' denotes most useful and a score of '12' denotes least useful

Source: Q16; Base = all respondents answering each. (Base numbers for individual response options are included in the chart above)

The responses relate to initial teacher education in general and do not suggest any major difference of perception between the one-year and four-year programmes. They indicate, in particular, that teachers would wish to be better equipped in the areas of assessment, additional support needs, safeguarding and ICT. In response to the survey and in discussions, many respondents felt that they needed greater focus on subject knowledge. Achieving the necessary breadth and depth of knowledge is a particular challenge for primary education students, given the span of conceptual understanding within and across the eight curriculum areas they are responsible for teaching. Primary teachers often referred to the need for better preparation for the teaching of reading, at all stages in the primary school. A further frequent concern was lack of confidence and skills in assessment, including understanding standards and expectations and being able to engage with Scottish Qualifications Authority assessment processes. Many new teachers also expressed a lack of confidence in dealing with some of the most challenging aspects of the professional role of the teacher. These include positive behaviour management and ways of supporting learning including for pupils with significant additional support needs. Overall there is a wide variation in the extent to which existing provision fully equips students to address the areas of greatest challenge for Scottish education.

There are clearly important decisions to be made about what should be included in initial teacher education and what should be addressed later. A particular aspect is how far the traditional programmes can fully serve the purposes of preparing a new teacher for the wide range of demands around knowledge, pedagogy and professional studies. The Standard for Initial Teacher Education provides a very helpful reference point for this analysis.

Some aspects of learning are so central to being a teacher that they should be considered as core elements for every student. Beyond this it is desirable to have diversity within the broad expectations of the Standard, for example to enable specialism, to provide scope for research in depth in selected areas, and to take account of individual interests, prior learning and needs. There can then be a means of planning, for each teacher, how he or she will further develop knowledge, skills and attributes though the induction period to the Standard for Full Registration and beyond.

To guide this process, it will be helpful both to identify core elements and to illustrate expected levels of competence across the Standard for Initial Teacher Education.

All new teachers in Scotland should be aware of the key challenges we collectively face, such as improving standards of literacy and numeracy and doing more to overcome to effects of disadvantage and deprivation on educational outcomes, and contribute personally to addressing these. In addition to developing their subject and pedagogical knowledge and skills, therefore, all new teachers should be confident in their ability to:

  • address underachievement, including the potential effects of social disadvantage;
  • teach the essential skills of literacy and numeracy;
  • address additional support needs (particularly dyslexia and autistic spectrum disorders);
  • assess effectively in the context of the deep learning required by Curriculum for Excellence; and
  • know how to manage challenging behaviour.

It is neither necessary nor feasible for a teacher to be a subject expert in all areas of the primary curriculum, but we do need to ensure that all teachers have sufficient understanding to stretch and progress children's learning and to diagnose and remedy any conceptual or other learning problems which may undermine their progress. Weaknesses in the performance of children, particularly in primary education, can stem in part from low levels of confidence amongst teachers about their own knowledge of what they are teaching. This represents one of the greatest points of exposure of the primary teacher and is particularly the case in literacy, mathematics, science and modern foreign languages. There are parallel challenges for secondary teachers in understanding how the academic knowledge gained through their undergraduate study relates to children's learning within the broad general education and senior phase of Curriculum for Excellence.

The professional component in programmes of initial teacher education should address more directly areas where teachers experience greatest difficulty and where we know that Scottish education needs to improve. That will require a radical reappraisal of present courses and of the guidelines provided by GTCS.

Increased emphasis should be given to ensuring that primary students have sufficient understanding of the areas they are expected to teach. Supporting online resources should be developed which address the fundamentals of each area to be taught together with implications for pedagogy.

Some initial teacher education programmes address the problem of what can be covered by promoting strategies which encourage students to identify what they need for immediate teaching purposes only as and when they need it. Such an approach does not sit well with our expectations of the complexity of the teacher's role in designing appropriate approaches to teaching and learning, based on deep understanding. There is also a view of the teacher as a generic facilitator of learning, and this can undervalue the need for a teacher to have a sound understanding of what is being taught.

To ensure that all students can benefit fully and quickly from the programme of initial teacher education, it would also be helpful to define clear baselines for prior knowledge and skills for those embarking on these programmes. Prospective students could reasonably be expected to develop and deepen their curriculum knowledge at least to those points. Improving their knowledge of a few areas of the curriculum, such as aspects of mathematics, science and modern languages, are priorities for many prospective primary teachers. Degree subject content studied by prospective secondary teachers can be very different to the content of the curriculum they will be required to teach, and again students should be expected to undertake necessary study to make this transition.

We have indicated above that all new teachers should be able to demonstrate nationally-agreed levels of competence in literacy and numeracy before being awarded the Standard for Full Registration. For some, this will require a measure of self-study during their period of initial teacher education tailored to their own development needs, to achieve these levels of competence.

Clear expectations about necessary prior learning for teacher education courses should be developed together with diagnostic assessments and online resources to allow students to reach that baseline in advance of formally embarking on a course. This mechanism could also be used to support existing teachers.

Improving approaches to learning in initial teacher education programmes

The student teacher experience needs to offer a wide variety of approaches to learning, across both the school and university environments. The chart below shows which modes of learning within initial teacher education programmes respondents to our survey found most useful in terms of preparation for teaching.

Chart 4.2: Most useful aspects of course, in terms of modes of learning, in preparation for teaching (where a score of '1' denotes most useful and a score of '10' denotes least useful)

Chart 4.2: Most useful aspects of course, in terms of modes of learning, in preparation for teaching (where a score of '1' denotes most useful and a score of '10' denotes least useful

Source: Q17; Base = all respondents (n = 2,381). (Base numbers for individual response options are included in the chart above)

This evidence suggests that students perceived placements, taught seminars and working with peers as most useful. Lectures which are delivered to large groups and therefore cannot take account of individual needs were not always seen as helpful. Online and distance learning were perceived to be least useful, perhaps due to the lack of development of high quality resources or difficulties of access to these resources. For example, some students that engaged with the Review did not have access to Glow. Opportunities to work with students in other disciplines remains limited despite placing teacher education within universities.

A few initial teacher education programmes have attempted both to build from individual strengths and prior knowledge at point of entry to initial teacher education and to develop each new teacher's full range of knowledge through various means such as flexible learning materials. For example, in one university, primary education students undertake a helpful diagnostic assessment of their numeracy skills and can then access support materials to boost specific aspects, based on the results.

Several universities, including the Open University, have been developing online resources to meet such needs, and further collaborative work should be undertaken to develop and share materials and approaches.

Overall, there is considerable scope to expect students to undertake more customised self-study, including using high quality distance and online learning approaches.

At present, students tend to have broadly the same set of inputs, irrespective of what they bring to the course. There should continue to be considerable scope for variation in what students learn beyond the identified core.

Undergraduate provision in initial teacher education

The test which is often applied to a newly-qualified teacher is his or her ability to 'hit the ground running'. Evidence from headteachers and others indicates that BEd graduates often initially have a better practical understanding of the requirements of the job as beginning teachers. However, although many PGDE qualified probationers have a steeper learning curve at the start of the induction year, they often have a strong capacity to learn and develop and the difference in practical teaching skills between the two routes becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish over time. The capacity, attitude and level of application of each individual new teacher become more significant factors.

Of greatest long-term importance, however, is the extent to which degree programmes go beyond initial preparation for the classroom and begin to build the capacities, knowledge and attitudes which are required for the extended professional. The BEd degree is generally seen as a good preparation for the classroom and has many supporters and applicants to its programmes. However, its specificity of purpose can lead to an over-emphasis on technical and craft skills at the expense of broader and more academically challenging areas of study.

One of the major, but as yet not fully realised, benefits of placing initial teacher education within universities, as envisaged by the Sutherland report, was that students on teaching programmes should benefit from belonging to the wider community of academic inquiry across the university. This broader academic experience would also enable them to work with students within other professions, including those with the closest links with education.

Degrees which concurrently combine significant academic study outwith education with rigorous professional development for teaching offer a more relevant way forward than the traditional BEd programmes. These broader degrees enable students and staff to engage more widely with the university as a whole, helping to realise the original aspirations of the Sutherland Report. They enable students, including those aiming for primary teaching, to engage in-depth academic study in a discipline other than education - for primary teachers perhaps providing the basis for specialist interests during their career. Such degrees would increase staffing flexibility between sectors. They might also offer a range of possible pathways into related professions such as social work and could also carry higher currency for students who do not find employment in teaching.

In line with emerging developments across Scotland's universities, the traditional BEd degree should be phased out and replaced with degrees which combine in-depth academic study in areas beyond education with professional studies and development. These new degrees should involve staff and departments beyond those in schools of education.

Length of initial teacher education programmes

Respondents to our survey expressed a clear view, which was supported by current and recent students, that the one-year, post-degree programme does not offer a sufficient length of time for the best quality preparation for teaching. This problem of reconciling demand with available time is at its most acute in the primary PGDE. Many suggested extending the programme, with some indicating that an 18-month or two-year programme would be more appropriate, to meet the demands of the classroom. 'Given the complexity of the demands placed upon teachers, the range of knowledge and skills that they are required to master, and the need for them to have sufficient practical experience in real classrooms as a part of their initial education, it is not surprising that initial Teacher Education courses are demanding' ( OECD, 2007).

Greater clarity about entry expectations, as indicated above, allied to support to bridge identified gaps between a student's current knowledge and those expectations would reduce some of the pressure on course teaching time and provide a more solid base upon which to build.

The approach which we are advocating in this chapter - of conceiving of initial teacher education and induction as a single early phase - has the potential to yield more usable time for study. The early phase of teacher education could be seen as a five-year experience for undergraduates and as a two-year experience for postgraduates. Removing artificial boundaries between initial teacher education, induction and subsequent CPD allows the development of new, differently-sequenced and paced approaches to the development of teachers' attributes, knowledge and skills. Agreeing the purposes of each phase would help to identify both the unique and complementary roles that each phase can play. The longer time horizons would, for example, allow more opportunities for students to apply what they have learned, to evaluate theories in practice, and begin to build up a range of specialist knowledge.

Within this phase, much better use could be made of the total time available. This could include the possibility of gaining academic recognition at Masters level, building on the positive start some universities have made to this within their current programmes.

We should also explore how more study time might be created for learning in this early phase through more creative use of time outwith university terms. Possibilities would include using traditional vacation periods, extending the PGDE beyond the current September to June (10-month) pattern, using the long break between the current two phases for further study, and using the time prior to taking up a place on an initial teacher education course to build skills and knowledge in identified areas, as we argued earlier in this chapter. Whilst there will be implications for resources, such enhancements to programmes would be more likely to be attractive to prospective applicants than substantially-extended programmes. They would also provide a firmer base for subsequent learning and practice.

Improving school placement within initial teacher education

The balance between time spent on placement and time spent in university remains contentious. Many respondents, particularly students and newly-qualified teachers strongly indicated that they perceived that the most valuable part of initial teacher education programmes was the placement experience. Despite 50% of the postgraduate degree programme being given over to placement and a minimum of 30 weeks over four years on the undergraduate route, 60% of graduates from the one-year programme and 51% of graduates from the undergraduate routes said that this was insufficient and argued that more time should be given to placement, as shown in the table below.

Table 4.2: Views on Placement Time (%)

PGDE

BEd

Too long

1

2

Just right

28

27

Too short

60

51

Neutral

12

20

Source: Q19 & Q20; Base = all respondents (n = 2,381)

Apart from the minimum stated length of placement days in the GTCS guidelines, there is no single model across Scotland and the universities have developed different patterns and concepts of placement to complement their campus-based provision. If, as we recommend, initial teacher education and induction are planned and operated as one continuous experience, the rhythm, flow and duration of placements could be adjusted to provide the best synergies between learning in the different settings.

The majority of those who submitted evidence to the Review recognised that theory and practice are too often perceived as separate entities despite the vigorous efforts of the university tutors and many teachers to make links. It is useful to refer to how another profession has addressed the need for all aspects of professionalism to be developed through practice. In Tomorrow's Doctors-Outcomes and Standards for Undergraduate Medical Education (General Medical Council 2009), this notion is placed clearly at the heart of professionalism:

' It is not enough for a clinician to act as a practitioner in their own discipline. They must act as partners to their colleagues, accepting shared accountability for the service provide to patients. They are also expected to offer leadership, and to work with others to change systems when it is necessary for the benefit of patients'.

' The roles of Doctor as a scientist and scholar, as a practitioner and as a professional should not be considered in isolation from each other. Doctors need to link them routinely in clinical practice' 27 .

In initial teacher education, exploration of theory is most often considered to reside within the on-campus delivery, with 'practice' residing within placements. A number of respondents to the Review described their initial teacher education programme as being of two largely separate parts: the campus-based part and the school-based part, with only limited connection between them in purpose and approach. Many identified the need to address variability in quality and consistency of the student experience, variability and commitment to partnership arrangements and a lack of clarity of responsibilities and ownership of initial teacher education and its students. Ways need to be found to ensure that school experiences are, and are seen to be, integral to the totality of initial teacher education. To assist this, experienced teachers can work with students to tailor the support they give.

Rather than seeing the components as offering different things, and being at either end of a spectrum, they should be seen as interlinked, with the connections being the means of developing educational theory through practice.

Exploration of theory through practice should be central to all placement experiences - emphasising effective professional practice, reflection, critical analysis and evidence-based decision making.

Many students and newly qualified teachers attested to the value of their placement experiences and praised the work of teachers and schools in supporting them. Teachers, particularly primary teachers who qualified in the last 10 years, are generally more positive about the quality of placement and support given to them. Unfortunately 23% were not positive and reported variable or very poor experiences. With placement playing a pivotal and substantial role in all initial teacher education programmes, concerns about poor quality placement experiences need to be addressed. The consistency in quality of placements experienced by teachers who responded to our survey is noted in the chart below.

Chart 4.3: Consistency of quality of placement experiences in preparation for teaching

Chart 4.3: Consistency of quality of placement experiences in preparation for teaching

Source: Q23; Base = all respondents (n = 2,381)

Seventy-eight per cent of respondents to our online survey indicated that the support they received from the school during placements was 'very effective or 'effective'. Fifty-on per cent said that the support from their university was 'very effective' or 'effective', but 20% said support from the university was 'very ineffective' or 'ineffective'.

We need to find ways of encouraging and assuring a more consistently high quality of placements within initial teacher education.

The GTCS accredits initial teacher education programmes, and arrangements for placements are normally described within programme documentation. However, the quality parameters which are described for placements do not always result in high quality experiences for student teachers. High quality placements which ensure a rigorous and professional experience should be a significant component of all initial teacher education programmes and student teachers should be able to expect more consistency in quality.

The quality and of the placement experience is inextricably linked to other aspects of quality in the school, such as the nature of the leadership, the overall quality of learning and teaching and the culture of professional learning and collaboration: all of these aspects should be strong in schools which are providing placements. Because of the pivotal nature of the placements to professional development, it is essential that placements meet appropriate benchmarks of quality. These criteria could also be used as a basis for a school's self evaluation of its provision for students.

Tools are available for gathering data on the quality of students' experiences during their placements. 'Practicum', a tool which was developed to support the organisation of student placements, can also be used to provide local authorities, schools, and universities with fine-grained data relating to the quality of student experience on placements. This is based on online questionnaires which students can complete as part of their evaluation of the placement experience. In discussion with local authorities it was clear that only a few use the data to evaluate placements. In the best practice they use this data to intervene and provide additional support or take action to address variations in quality.

School-based placements should be in schools which meet quality standards. They should provide an effective professional learning environment and the capacity to mentor and assess student teachers.

Students' views on the quality of placements should be used to inform decisions about the suitability of schools for placement and help to ensure a consistently high quality experience.

Given the importance of the quality of teaching for learning outcomes, all aspects of teacher education, including placements, mentoring of new and experienced teachers and approaches to CPD should be a more integral part of quality improvement processes at school, local authority and national level.

As part of current developments, school inspection should take greater account of the importance of teacher education in a successful school. This includes all aspects of career-long teacher education, acknowledging the key role this plays in improving educational standards. The GTCS and HMIE currently review aspects of provision within initial teacher education. This should be extended to include points of direct impact, such as the quality of learning that student teachers experience at university and within schools, the quality of partnerships which underpin this and the arrangements for continuing professional development.

Stronger quality assurance of the effectiveness of partnerships should be applied by GTCS through their accreditation procedures and HM Inspectors in their inspections of teacher education and of schools. School inspections should include, where relevant, evaluations of the quality of the mentoring and assessment arrangements for students and newly-qualified teachers as well as of continuing professional development.

Covering the various components of teacher education, including the provision of placements, in a school or local authority's approaches to self evaluation and quality assurance offers an opportunity to improve the quality of the student experience as well as to enhance ownership of initial teacher education by staff in schools.

A school which is recognised as offering a model of good practice in promoting professional learning could become a 'hub teaching school', working collaboratively with a university or other agency and with neighbouring schools, exchanging knowledge and evidence of effectiveness of practice. This notion is developed in later in the report. McLaughlin and Black-Hawkins 28 argue that: ' If the creation and dissemination of knowledge beyond the individual teacher is to be an aim and is to happen, then shifts in the structures, roles and relationships of both universities and schools are demanded'.

Assessment of students on placement

Many concerns were expressed to the Review about the assessment of students on placement. The most common complaint was from schools claiming that they had rated a student as unsatisfactory but felt that they had been 'overruled' by university processes. Existing procedures also risk undue weight being given to 'crit lessons' and the need for students to devote disproportionate amounts of time to preparing written evidence of their work in school for assessment purposes. In discussion with the Review Team, students and recently qualified teachers described what, in their view, were time-intensive and often repetitive tasks required as part of placement assessment procedures. In some cases, they indicated that such assessment requirements drove their priorities and reduced the time in which they could collaborate with peers and other teachers or engage in improvement through self-evaluation.

For the future, it will be important to develop assessment approaches which lead to improved student teacher learning. Assessment should address those attributes of a good teacher which are displayed across the length of a placement. Experienced teachers already formally assess new teachers within the induction scheme and could take prime responsibility for assessing students on placement. Appropriate guidance on and moderation of standards, quality assurance and appeals processes need to be built in to ensure transparency, equality and fairness for all.

Joint appointments between local authorities and universities can play a key role in the moderation of standards across schools. Such posts could also help to bring research and development work closer to the point of impact in schools. When creating such posts, there is scope to build on the role of 'student placement coordinator' which was funded within each local authority as a result of the 2005 review. Rather than focusing on administrative functions relating to managing placements, the future role could be about quality improvement of initial teacher education and partnership working across career-long teacher education.

Suitably trained school staff should have the prime role in the assessment of students whilst on placement. New models of joint staffing should be developed to enhance the quality and impact of the placement experience.

Initial teacher education provides the foundation for the quality of the future teaching workforce and this should be a priority for all teachers and employers. Involvement in this kind of activity should be recognised as a contribution to the teacher's own CPD and to the CPD of the member of university staff. Evidence from existing local authority and university partnerships of this nature indicate that the acceptance of a shared responsibility is central to success.

Developing the broader role of the twenty-first century professional within initial teacher education

Programme placements are designed using the GTCS guidance and the sequences of experiences are built to give increasing responsibility for class teaching. The most common model of placement emphasises the need to be able to take sole responsibility for a class or classes. However, there is much more to the teacher's role than class teaching: as we have discussed, the concept of the teacher and teaching is changing and students need to experience the wider role of the teacher when on placement, including working with parents and partners from other services for children.

Scotland has a tradition of separate schooling for different age groups which is mirrored by the age ranges in which new teachers become qualified. In practice, there is decreasing demarcation in the teaching of specific age ranges. Some interesting and challenging developments involving cross-sectoral partnerships are taking place around the senior phase of Curriculum for Excellence within secondary schools, for example. In order to implement Curriculum for Excellence successfully, schools and individual teachers need to work with partners when designing learning experiences. As well as within curriculum areas, this includes the 'responsibilities of all' such as health and wellbeing. Programme placements should aim to provide opportunities for students to participate in these sorts of developing partnerships.

To ensure that the model of placement reflects the broader and evolving roles of teachers, it should include more substantial experience for all prospective teachers in relating to parents and working with other professionals.

Improving the continuum of teacher education into induction and beyond

Some probationer teachers reported that the content of the induction programme at local authority level did not build on their prior learning effectively. Whilst some of what has been learned in initial teacher education content does need to be revisited, some was simply repeated. The involvement of the university partners in induction is negligible. During their probation, only 4% of respondents to our online questionnaire had the opportunity to retain links to their university. Forty-five per cent would have chosen to do so if the opportunity had been offered. Research by Carter and Francis (2001) 29 on workplace learning in New South Wales, Australia, suggests that effective learning for beginning teachers is linked to induction supported by partnership with a university. If we conceptualise and design a two-year graduate programme, which includes the PGDE and the induction scheme, involving university-based and local authority-based teacher educators throughout, progression in the development of skills and competences for new teachers should improve significantly.

More joint appointments between local authorities and universities would be a further way of breaking down the structural barriers and bringing all staff involved in teacher education closer together. Current experiments, for example as led by Glasgow University and partners, where university teacher educators are based within a locality, may help to ensure better progression from initial teacher education into induction and beyond. This would also help to address the desire of many new teachers to have continuing contact with university staff during their early career development. University staff could enrich the quality and focus of the action-based research that many probationers complete during their induction year, as part of the local authority programme. Opportunities for these projects to be accredited could increase with greater involvement of university staff. This might encourage new teachers to continue to develop credits at Masters degree level, based on the introduction to this level of study within many initial teacher education programmes.

In order to improve continuity and coherence for new teachers, university-based teacher educators should have a role in the development and delivery of induction schemes.

Improving partnerships for teacher learning throughout the early phase

Improving partnership working was one of the key recommendations of the 2005 review 30 but progress since then has been limited and improvements have not always been sustained. The current situation in Scotland remains very varied and this variability entrenches a continuing division of ownership and responsibilities. There appears to be no lack of goodwill towards improved partnership working but, although cooperation has improved, effective collaboration remains relatively rare.

A major implication of the proposed single early phase of teacher education is that local authority and university staff will need to work closely together in a range of practical ways throughout the period, not only at the point of transition from initial teacher education to induction. Strong partnerships will be essential if students are to experience coherence and progression in their education throughout the early phase and beyond.

There are existing examples of effective school-university partnerships from which we can learn. The Scottish Government's 'Schools of Ambition' programme, for example, included good examples where university and school staff worked together closely to lead and evaluate potentially radical change in participating secondary schools. Individual universities have also worked hard to improve partnership working and there are a number of examples of effective practice. Strong partnerships are based on shared ownership of programmes and students, clarity of expectations and responsibilities, trust, respect and equal status.

New and strengthened models of partnership among universities, local authorities, schools and individual teachers need to be developed. These partnerships should be based on jointly agreed principles and involve shared responsibility for key areas of teacher education.

Role of experienced teachers within initial teacher education

As part of fuller partnership, teachers in schools should be more closely involved in designing placements. School and university programme staff need to be able to develop shared views of theory through practice and shared understandings of the purposes of each component of the programme. This has worked well within the Australian experience of partnership which, in Models of Partnership in Initial Teacher Education 31, is described as follows:

' The trend towards the reconceptualisation of school-experience and the relationship with schools arises from the recognition that student teachers' learning is not always facilitated by the more traditional models of supervision. New models require supervisors to take the role more of facilitator than of critic and involve the redefinition of roles and responsibilities to include increased reflection, collaboration and partnership'.

This type of approach would enable student teachers to benefit from mentoring and coaching from the outset of their teacher education. As discussed earlier, teachers need to work with students and university staff to tailor the structure, content and focus of the placement to meet each individual student's needs. This might include deepening subject content knowledge in priority areas, or an aspect of pedagogy, or work with particular groups of learners. Progress can then be recorded within the student's online profile, which can later be used to evaluate the breadth of their career-long development.

We now consider the current induction component and how it might evolve within a more coherent early phase of initial teacher education.

Improving professional learning for new teachers

Howe (2006) 32 reviewed induction programmes in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and the United States and concluded that the best approaches were based on:

  • individualised induction plans and funding for mentor training;
  • development of partner schools for more extended periods of induction - mixed between universities and schools in the first year followed by more intensive school-based elements in second year;
  • reduction in responsibilities in addition to reduction in teaching workload - time for reflection;
  • development of an organisational culture in which there is collaborative exchange involving a range of professionals aimed at supporting newly qualified teachers; and
  • separation of the support and assessment functions of induction.

Scotland meets most of these criteria very well. At present, however, the quality and content of the induction scheme varies across the country. At its best it is genuinely 'world-class' but that is by no means universally true. Overall, probationer teachers felt positive about their induction year experience. However, nearly half of the probationers who responded to our online survey did not agree that CPD undertaken during the induction year was effective or highly effective in supporting them to achieve the Standard for Full Registration. The results are summarised in the chart below.

Chart 4.4: Effectiveness of professional development undertaken during probation/induction in helping reach Standard for Full Registration

Chart 4.4: Effectiveness of professional development undertaken during probation/induction in helping reach Standard for Full Registration

Source Q24; Base = all respondents (n = 2,381)

Induction experiences should build progressively from initial teacher education into the early professional years with the key components being developed in partnership by local authorities, the GTCS and the universities. There should be maximum opportunities within the induction scheme for new teachers to tailor and personalise the content to meet their own professional learning needs. It is critical to instil a desire to own, lead and be responsible for CPD, rather than having it 'done to you', from the outset of a teacher's career.

In some local authorities the central programme is generic and probationers from all sectors take part in the same CPD sessions. Probationer teachers reported that the quality of some sessions was low, particularly when local authority officers spent considerable time explaining corporate policies. Some new teachers felt that corporate policies could have been part of a professional reading programme, with short discussions to clarify any procedural issues. In other examples, time was used well and much of the programme was led by experienced teachers from across the authority, covering a range of areas of professional development prioritised by the probationer teachers themselves. Most in the primary sector felt that the probationer year and other CPD organised by authorities did not sufficiently develop their knowledge and understanding in subjects across the curriculum. As a result, they were not confident in teaching all aspects of the curriculum. Probationer teachers from the secondary sector appreciated when they had a mentor from the same subject in school. Most would also welcome more subject-specific CPD.

Given the importance of the induction scheme, it needs to be subject to stronger quality assurance and ongoing improvement. We need to be sure that the equity afforded to new teachers in terms of a guaranteed placement is matched in terms of the quality of the experience and ongoing teacher education they engage in, no matter where they are in the country. Mechanisms for approving initial teacher education programmes, led the GTCS, will now need to include ways in which induction is being built into the overall experience, as partners work together to reconceptualise the early phase of teacher education.

Improving personalisation and progression for new teachers

Initial teacher education profiles are compiled between the university and the qualifying student and are intended to form a basis for discussion on development needs in the next stage. They are often used as a basis of discussion between the newly-qualified teacher and their mentor. Those who have had this opportunity to build their own next steps and tailor the focus for the start of their induction year were very positive about the impact this had on improving the transition from university. However, a significant proportion of newly-qualified teachers reported that their development paths were disjointed between initial teacher education and the induction scheme, contributed to by a lack of reference to their university initial teacher education profile. New teachers also perceived great merit in being able to have their initial teacher education profiles, initial professional development action plan, PRD and CPD materials and information as a flexible online portfolio which could be used interactively. At present, not all of those involved in mentoring and supporting new teachers seem to be fully aware of the profiles and paperwork that graduates have for the start of their induction period. Improvements to these transition points are likely to be achieved if initial teacher education and induction are planned as one experience.

What has become clear is the need for a more personalised, coherent, progressive journey of professional learning for all graduates who are embarking on a career in teaching. The 'world-class' entitlement to the induction year placement has not always been matched by world-class content within the programme.

To support more effective management of personal and professional development a new system of online profiling should be developed. This should integrate progress, targets and next steps from the outset of initial teacher education, through induction and into continuous professional development.

The quality of mentoring and support

The quality and impact of mentoring for each new teacher is central to the success of the teacher induction scheme. Mentoring and the extent of non-contact time were the two features that probationer teachers who engaged in the Review were most satisfied with, as shown in the chart below.

Chart 4.5: satisfaction during probation/induction with aspects of professional development (where a score of '5' denotes very satisfied and a score of '1' denotes very dissatisfied)

Chart 4.5: satisfaction during probation/induction with aspects of professional development (where a score of '5' denotes very satisfied and a score of '1' denotes very dissatisfied)

With an average score of 3.27, this evidence suggests that levels of satisfaction with the quality of mentoring could be improved further. Selection of mentors, initial and ongoing training, and monitoring the impact of the role are critical factors for improving the overall quality and consistency of mentoring.

There can be a tension between the mentoring and the assessment function that many mentors also carry out. This can affect the extent to which new teachers genuinely engage in coaching and mentoring conversations where they reveal weaknesses because of the consequences for the formal assessments their mentor undertakes. Some probationers also commented that they did not want to challenge or disagree with their mentor, even when they disagreed with their teaching approaches, for fear of any repercussions. A few new teachers reported that a priority for them in successfully completing their induction year was maintaining a positive relationship with their mentor.

Original guidance on the teacher induction scheme did suggest two key school-based roles: the mentor who would complete the formal aspects of the scheme with the new teacher; and the supporter who would provide pastoral care and support to the new teacher, offering an open space for new teachers to seek advice and share successes and concerns. The supporter was often a teacher who was working within the same department or stage of the school. Our evidence suggests that in Scotland the two roles have merged into one for many probationer teachers. The separation of the assessment function from the mentoring role is one of the many successful elements of mentoring within the Santa Cruz New Teacher Programme 33.

A three-year evaluation of the Early Professional Development ( EPD) Pilot Scheme in England (Moor et al, 2005) 34 reported that mentoring at an early career stage had a positive impact on mentees' teaching practice, career development, and commitment to the teaching profession. The EPD evaluation reported 'strong evidence that the early professional development of teachers had led to them becoming more effective members of their school communities'. This study is one of the few UK studies to assert a link with pupil gains. Reporting survey findings from year 3 of the evaluation, Moor et al maintain that 'more than three-quarters of teachers and mentors indicated that EPD had considerably enhanced pupils' learning'. If we are to achieve the extended professionalism we seek, all teachers need mentoring skills to develop each other and support and challenge improvements to practice. The importance of mentoring as part of CPD will be explored further in the next chapter.

Research also highlights the importance of effective selection and preparation of school-based mentors. Effective mentors ensure an appropriate degree of challenge, possess subject expertise, and support mentees' critical interrogation of practice (Smith and Ingersoll, 2004 35; Harrison et al, 2006 36; Hobson et al, 2007 37). The benefits and impact of taking on the role of being a mentor, particularly for mid-career teachers, are clear from our evidence and the research. Where mentors are trained and fully supported, they gain many valuable skills and refresh a range of their own competences. Research by Hobson et al notes that some teachers are 're-energised' and 're-engaged' with the profession through the adoption of a mentoring role in school. Based on evidence from the Santa Cruz programme evaluation, Moir and Bloom (2003) 38 maintain that, 'mentoring offers veteran teachers professional replenishment, contributes to the retention of the region's best teachers, and produces teacher leaders with the skills and passion to make lifelong teacher development central to school culture'.

A few local authorities have seconded staff to act as mentors for clusters of schools. Although these authorities had found this a helpful approach in ensuring consistency in mentoring arrangements, they reported difficulties in sustaining such secondments in the current financial climate. Many of these approaches, which have been formed based on lessons learned from the Santa Cruz model, are highly effective. The model in Santa Cruz provides mentor support from experienced teachers who are released full time from teaching duties (for a period of two to three years) to mentor newly qualified teachers in their first year of professional practice. Systematic mentor training is provided for initial preparation and continues through weekly mentor forums and professional development planning. A rigorous selection process is undertaken involving school leaders, district administrators and unions. Support for new teachers generally includes approximately two hours mentoring each week and specifically arranged seminar groups focusing on various topics such as pedagogy and assessment and working with school data.

Across the local authorities in Scotland, there are some useful training programmes for mentors which include coaching skills. In some instances, for example, authorities have produced handbooks for mentors and organised refresh training. They have also set up helpful mentor support groups.

Local authorities and national bodies should develop approaches to quality assure and improve mentoring.

Mentors should be selected carefully and undertake training based on a recognition of the skills and capacities required for this role.

The roles and responsibilities of different individuals within the teacher induction scheme need to be updated and clarified. Given the potential tension in the assessment and support functions of mentors, all new teachers in Scotland should have access to a mentor and a supporter.

Tailoring the package of support, including non-contact time

The induction scheme offers newly qualified teachers a maximum of 0.7 FTE class commitment, with the balance of time being used for professional development and to access support from experienced teachers. This is in contrast to the later stages of teaching placements within initial teacher education courses, where GTCS guidelines and course documentation favours an almost full-time teaching commitment to prepare students for the demands of the job. The rhythm and flow of teaching experience within the later stages of initial teacher education and the induction year contrasts considerably under the current arrangements. The majority of newly-qualified teachers who engaged with the Review were very positive about the opportunity to undertake the induction scheme and the entitlement to support from school staff and the local authority. Many asserted that they would have welcomed moving to a full timetable at a negotiated point. This view was confirmed by many headteachers and local authority probation managers, some of whom saw the 0.7 timetable in the latter parts of the scheme as counterproductive in trying to prepare for the demands of a full-time post.

In November 2010, the Scottish Government and COSLA proposed that the review of the Teachers' Agreement of 2001 should consider increasing probationer class contact time to 0.9 FTE. However, the conclusions of this Review would point to the need to make much more effective use of existing non-contact time. There is a need for more flexibility in deciding what is appropriate class contact time in the later stages of the induction year, matched to the needs of each individual probationer. Even the most capable new teacher is still at the beginning of the journey of professional development. The evidence and research suggests that investing time for professional development, reflection and learning with experienced teachers within the induction year is a critical factor in its success. While the need for savings is recognised, that should not be at the expense of building much-needed quality in our future teaching force.

The overall level of non-contact time in the induction scheme should build more directly and progressively from initial teacher education. The use made of the time should allow greater flexibility and personalisation.

Induction and early career professional development

While the induction scheme has been important to the early professional development of teachers during their first year of employment, research indicates that there is a notable absence of continuing support thereafter (Kennedy et al, 2008 39; Wilson et al, 2006 40; Fraser et al, 2007 41). Beyond the induction year, research suggests that Scottish teachers themselves do not always see CPD as a positive opportunity even in the 'post-McCrone' context, although many welcomed the idea of an 'entitlement' of 35 hours per year (Draper and Sharp, 2006 42). Scotland is far from being alone in this particular aspect, as recent work in England (Hobson and Ashby, 2010 43) has shown. In Northern Ireland, attempts have been made to improve this aspect of continuity by illustrating professional standards within different phases of teacher education, including early career development.

There can be a serious lack of continuity and progression in teacher education experienced by many teachers moving into their second year. There is often little continuity in supporting them to take forward the targets which they had set at the end of their probationer year, particularly where they did not have full-time employment. In the few instances where newly-qualified teachers had secured a post in the same school, these targets were of more relevance. In the case of one authority, those interviewed as part of the Review were experiencing continuity in their professional development and described the experience as being in a 'mentoring school' where all staff were supportive. The transition to the second year of teaching works well when teachers are placed in the schools in which they had their induction year, although this is not always possible. However, most of the teachers in their second year who engaged with the Review were unclear about potential CPD pathways and career progression. Continuing use of professional standards was heavily dependent on which school and which authority they worked in.

Early career teachers should continue to benefit from mentoring beyond induction. Additional support should be provided by senior managers within schools and local authorities to ensure appropriate progression as part of the CPD and Profession Review and Development ( PRD) process.

Improving learning for probationer teachers on the flexible route

Provision needs to be improved for those teachers who opt out of the induction scheme and embark on the flexible route to achieving the Standard for Full Registration. The evidence suggests that graduates opt out of the scheme for a number of reasons, including:

  • personal or family commitments;
  • being unable to commit to working full-time; and
  • choosing to complete probation in somewhere other than a Scottish state school, for example an independent school.

In addition, graduates who complete their initial teaching qualification outwith Scotland have to complete the flexible route.

Some of those teachers on the flexible route may still be experiencing the almost 'scandalous' provision which formed the basis of the previous probationary term, as described by the McCrone Inquiry. They may complete a set of short-term assignments with no support or continuity. Local authorities who accept flexible route probationers onto their supply teaching registers or into longer term posts need to do more to support them: flexible route probationers should experience as many features as possible of the induction scheme.

The flexible route to achieving the Standard for Full Registration should include access to CPD and structured support. This needs to be led and coordinated by local authorities who choose to employ flexible route probationers.

Evidence-based improvement

Currently there are no arrangements to assess effectiveness and impact within each aspect of the teacher education process. Although measures of effectiveness are difficult to identify and disentangle from various other factors, high quality teacher education has to have a strong evidence base.

A leading example of such an approach is the Teachers for a New Era ( TNE) development in the USA, funded by Carnegie Corporation. Kirby et al (2006) 44 found 'that the distinctive contribution of TNE lies in its commitment to insist on formal evidence that a training program is effective in producing teachers who can improve student learning'. The same approach was subsequently adopted in the Scottish Teachers for a New Era ( STNE). This development of evidence-based practice in teacher education has subsequently influenced developments elsewhere. It is critical that a wide range of evidence about the quality and impact of teacher education is gathered and used to create a culture of continuous improvement. GTCS accreditation arrangements of initial teacher education programmes need to include follow-through where necessary, to evaluate impact.

Leaders who manage the early phase of teacher education need to engage in a wider range of self-evaluation to ensure greater equity and consistency in the quality of experience and education that beginning teachers receive. For example, within initial teacher education, one of the main forms of self-evaluation and improvement centres around student surveys and questionnaires. A greater range of evidence is required to ensure improvement, such as observing the point of impact of the initial teacher education programme; the quality of teaching and learning that students experience. Direct, first-hand observation of learning in action is essential to assessing the impact of improvements and changes to programmes, as found by Furlong et al (2000) 45: 'it is one thing for course leaders to design new courses in response to particular policy texts; how those new courses are actually experienced by students could well be a different matter'.

Local authority and school leaders have an important role in the systematic improvement, through self-evaluation, of all aspects of teacher education, recognising this as a central component of school improvement because of its direct role in improving outcomes for individual children. More data is required about the quality of key aspects of teacher education, such as school placements, mentoring within the induction scheme and the impact of CPD. Leaders need to gather this data and use it to intervene and take direct action to ensure continuous improvement.

Providers of initial teacher education programmes should develop, in partnership with employers, means of gauging the effectiveness and impact of their programmes in the short and medium terms.

University-based teacher educators

To ensure high quality in all aspects of teacher education, attention needs to be paid to the professional development of all staff involved. Responses to our survey highlighted a perception that the profile of staffing in universities, and their knowledge and skills, is changing to reflect evolving needs and missions. However, the agenda set by this report is very challenging.

Those most closely involved in initial teacher education programmes and who assess the professional components of the programme are normally required to be registered with the GTCS. This will form a key mechanism in the future for ensuring that all those involved in teacher education have appropriate access to, and benefit from, professional development opportunities.

Through any reaccreditation arrangements, the GTCS should ensure that those involved in the front line of teacher education in universities and schools are fully ready for that task. University-based teacher educators should have a responsibility to undertake an agreed programme of CPD each year.

The development of university teacher educators is not only about connectedness to the work of schools. It is equally important that they are a full part of an actively inquiring teacher education community through maintaining research-informed teaching in pre- and in-service courses for teachers, and contributing to the building of capacity in the broad field of education research. Insufficient attention has been given to the professional learning of teacher educators and the contribution they can make to curriculum change, whether they are school-based or university-based. There is some disparity between the promotion of research-informed teaching on the one hand, and concerns about the capacity of teacher educators to engage in and with high quality applied and practice-based research. Murray (2008) 46 maintains that teacher educators remain an 'under-researched and poorly understood occupational group'. There is considerable potential for university-based teacher educators to contribute more fully across the full continuum of teacher education in Scotland.

Flexible staffing

Universities and local authorities have already been working in various ways to develop new models of staffing which seek to share expertise and responsibilities for student support and assessment. More widespread use of joint staffing models shared between universities, local authorities and schools could greatly enhance partnership, improve consistency of experience and substantially enrich CPD. This can include enquiry-based improvement and greater impact of university research on classroom practice. We need to bring teachers and university staff closer together to focus on improving children's learning. The prototype models being developed by Glasgow and Aberdeen universities form a base for future significant development. These experiments need to be evaluated to determine different ways of enabling collaboration between schools, local authorities and universities across a range of teacher education.

Flexible staffing models for initial teacher education, induction and CPD should be developed by local authorities and the universities to allow movement of staff and dual appointments. As well as potentially improving coherence, this will help to achieve the aspiration of teaching being a research-informed profession.

Improving learning for leadership from the start of career-long teacher education

We have emphasised through this report the importance of identifying, nurturing and explicitly developing leadership skills, knowledge and attributes from the outset of a teacher's career. The two- or five-year early phase of teacher education provides a useful vehicle for addressing this important area of every teacher's professional development directly.

Students on initial teacher education programmes and probationer teachers varied significantly in their awareness of the role of leadership in education. Many early career teachers who engaged with the Review had very little awareness of leadership expectations and pathways, although local authority induction programmes often provide opportunities to learn about school and system-level leadership. There are significant opportunities within the early phase of teacher education to extend understanding of the facets of leadership in education.

There are also, perhaps more importantly, opportunities to experience leadership roles and to develop professionally from them. As part of the induction programme, new teachers in some local authorities join school improvement working groups and contribute actively to the life of the school as a community, for example by working with community learning partners or leading an out-of-school activity, or by taking the lead on a team which is undertaking an aspect of curriculum development.

In planning the range of activities which an individual will undertake during the proposed early stage of a teacher's education, it will be important to include opportunities for students and probationer teachers to undertake distributive leadership roles and reflect on the learning and development which result from them. The proposed on-line profile of teacher education would provide a way of recognising the development of leadership attributes, skills and capacities which takes place through these activities, right from the outset of a teacher's career.

The reconceptualisation of early teacher education discussed in this chapter may enable the breakthrough in achieving the full benefits of true partnership, as stated by Menter et al (2005) 47: 'A successful approach to ITE partnerships is only possible if the anomalies prevailing at the various stages of early professional development ( ITE, Induction and Full-Registration, early CPD) are simultaneously addressed. It is crucial that all stakeholders are involved and accept that each has a role'.

In the next chapter we will continue to develop the notion of a continuum of teacher education throughout the career of each individual teacher. The importance of maintaining the momentum in each teacher's education was summed up in one local authority's response to our call for evidence:

' Teacher education feels disjointed with quite specific stages - the journey from ITE to experienced professional loses energy and focus after the probation stage'.