Professor Des Hewitt, Head of Primary and Early Years Education at the Centre for Teacher Education, University of Warwick

Our teacher education is founded on intellectual curiosity, social justice and creativity. We want the best for our trainee teachers and for our school mentors, so that together we can create the best education for children and young people in school. 

Every year the Centre for Teacher Education at the University of Warwick, trains over 500 teachers to teach children from 2 years to 18 years of age in over 500 schools, nurseries and colleges. Over 90% of our trainees go on to work in schools in the region. 

We go out of our way to work with schools in areas of significant disadvantage. For instance, we have trained over 30 trainees in Enfield, North London working with an academy trust. We are proud that many of these new teachers come from a BAME/ BME background reflecting the population of the schools themselves. 

In this group of schools, over ten teachers have completed their MA dissertations on areas of school development (e.g. subject discipline excellence, SEND, pupil premium and staff development). Warwick has also contributed to the development of a subject policy from 4-18 years of age for English in these schools. All of this, whilst paying our partnership schools over £1million in partnership funding. Universities universally find it difficult to maintain these current levels of funding; but we do it because we have an overriding commitment to education in our partnership schools.  

Warwick like all Universities has been dynamic in its response to the pandemic, quickly implementing online interactive teaching, whilst also maintaining high quality placements in schools. The University and partner schools have worked seamlessly together to make this happen.  

The DfE should be applauded for its constructive engagement with the ITE sector during the pandemic. Long may this continue. 

The DfE must continue to engage with the ITE sector in the way that it has done during the pandemic. This means: 

  • Encouraging a constructive dialogue between government and the sector to ensure quality and integrity of the teacher supply model; 
  • An over-centralized model of teacher education will not work and does not match the gold standard models of teacher education (such as is found in Finland); 

What is the evidence upon which current proposals for radical changes in ITE have been made? In order to maintain the current high quality of teacher education in England, we need continuity and stability.