The nature of the DfE

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

The DfE says that it is so overwhelmed by dealing with the virus and the problems associated with GCSE and A level exams (ie the lack of them) that it cannot find the time to decide whether to allow the proposal to allow a GCSE in Natural History to go on to the next stage.

Odd, then, that it has the time to fast track a move to shift teacher education / training [ITE] provision out of the HE sector and into schools.  In an article for The Conversation Matthew Clarke and Keither Parker from the School of Education at York St John University explore what's going on.

In July, DfE published the ITT market review report and the brief public consultation on its recommendations is now almost over.   Clarke and Parker note that the review continues "a decade-long trend, shifting the responsibility for ITE away from universities and towards schools."  In a high stakes move, the University of Cambridge is vowing to quit the ITE business if the changes are implemented.  It said (I quote from The Times):

"The proposals appear to confuse quality with uniformity and conformity.  We cannot ... envisage our continuing involvement with ITT [initial teacher training] should they be implemented in their current format. ... The underlying assumption that teaching is merely a set of skills, and that every trainee should concentrate on the same skills regardless of past experience, subject or phase, is completely flawed."

Arguably, this is the logical end point from a process that began in the 1990s when the first HE/schools partnership programmes were devised following DfE (or whatever it was called then) instructions.  In these, students spent much more time in schools than previously and money was given to schools by the university to fund this.  I helped to devise the rather good (I thought) Bath partnership programme.  This was a collaboration that brought school and HE expertise together.  This is not what is now being proposed.

One thing would seem pellucidly clear, the DfE's grand plan, when implemented, will have no room for any consideration of environmental education.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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