I have been a teacher, a school based-mentor and H.E based teacher educator for over twenty years. During this time, educational policy priorities for schools have changed and ideas on what ‘good teaching’ is have changed. Two things, from my experience of the ITE sector have remained solid: the passion of beginning teachers to work with young people to make a difference and the intelligence they bring to old and new school debates. My feeling is beginning teachers want an evidence-based, subject specialist introduction to the teaching profession – one which encourages reflection on what education is for and foregrounds how young people can be excited about learning.
Short term contracts or plans for ITE would undermine security, erode possibilities for providers to build longer term relationships with partners; well qualified, experienced mentors and tutors are less likely to be retained and CPD for teacher educators would likely fall even lower down the agenda. Time and money are always considerations in the ITE sector – in addition to this, being able to plan and build coherent programmes (whether based on the CCF or any other future ‘best’ curriculum for ITE) requires longer term planning, relationship building, CPD for mentors and tutors and the knowledge that any intellectual investment will be worth making.
Quality ITE provision cannot be organised as a ‘pop up’ or ‘just in time’ model and, whilst this has implications for investment, should be recognised with reference to some of the best ‘Outstanding’ ITE programmes in England – which have been building quality ITE programmes, consistently supporting the supply of excellent teachers able to negotiate changeable contexts in the best interests of their students. It is very important to see past the rhetoric of the current reasoning for an ITE review and hold up what is important in underpinning excellence.