Headlines: November 26th, 2003

The government’s training schools programme has had a positive effect on initial teacher training, according to a report today from the Office for Standards in Education. But Ofsted says the schools involved in the scheme could achieve even more with better self-evaluation.Under the first two phases of the scheme, which began in 2000 and 2001, 82 schools were given training school status. With it they were given extra funding to develop and disseminate good practice in Initial Teacher Training and to train teachers to mentor trainees. Today’s Ofsted report, ‘An Evaluation of the Training Schools Programme’, finds that it represents good value for money.

It says almost three-quarters of the training schools visited by inspectors have increased their numbers of teacher trainees. In some schools more than 100 trainees passed through the school each year. The report found that the majority of the schools had met their objectives or had made significant progress towards meeting them. The most effective of the schools demonstrated strong leadership and management, and a reflective and analytical approach to teaching and had integrated their work with other initiatives such as Beacon School or specialist college status.

At the same time inspectors found that two thirds of training schools attributed improvements in the recruitment and retention of teachers to involvement in the programme and more than one third noted improvements in teacher morale.

But the report recommends that training schools do more to develop evaluation of the programme’s impact on teaching and learning and to share the outcomes of their work. Only a third of the schools evaluated the impact on the quality of education and the standards achieved by pupils and even schools that had achieved some success in meeting their objectives were failing to make as much progress as they could because of a lack of self-evaluation.