Headlines: September 2nd, 2005

Schools are being challenged to provide more training and development for all their staff as a way of improving the lives of their pupils. The new Training and Development Agency for Schools, which comes into being this month, is taking over the work of the Teacher Training Agency but also has responsibility for improving the training of the entire school workforce, a total of about a million people.The Chief Executive of the new body, Ralph Tabberer, said its creation showed that every member of staff in a school mattered. The number of support staff, including teaching assistants, librarians and those who supervised pupils at break times, had almost doubled over the last eight years as a result of changes in schools and, he said, it was now time to ensure those changes brought benefits for pupils.

He said some schools were outstanding in recognising that support staff contributed to the performance of schools and pupils, ensuring they had training plans tailored to developing the skills and abilities of each member of staff. Other schools needed encouragement.

The new agency is chaired by Sir Brian Follett and will work with the General Teaching Council for England, the National College for School Leadership, local authorities, trades unions and other representatives of all staff working with children and young people. Carol Adams, Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council, said the brief for the TDA was a welcome sign of the importance the Government was now placing on professional development . “The GTC believes that it is vitally important for teachers and all school staff to have access to career-long high quality learning and development in order to maximise their potential to help pupils learn and achieve,” she added.

The TDA aims to build on the success of the Teacher Training Agency which, in the past five years, has seen an increase in the number of trainee teachers. In 2004-5 41,300 people entered teacher training, the highest number for 30 years.