The education secretary Michael Gove has unveiled a raft of changes to initial teacher training (ITT) designed to give schools greater control over how new teachers are recruited and trained

Michael Gove told teachers at the National College annual conference: “By 2015 well over half of all training places will be delivered in schools whether through direct provision, Teach First, School Direct or our new employment-based route”

School Direct

The new School Direct programme starting this September,  will allow schools to train graduates as teachers in the subjects and phases they need, in the way they want them trained. They will also be able to choose which accredited provider – such as universities or Teaching School partnerships – they want to work with.

In return for this additional control the schools will be expected to find a job for the trainee once they finish training.

From this September there will be more than 900 places on the new school-led School Direct programme and the expectation is to expand the programme over the next few years as it’s opened to all schools.

Increased bursaries

Gove also announced extra bursaries for graduates who train to become primary specialist maths and trainee teachers who work in the most challenging schools.

There’s an extra £2,000 for graduates training as primary maths specialists, as long as they have a grade B or above in A level maths.

Graduates who do most of their training in a school with many children on free school meals will receive up to 25% extra in bursary payments – which works out at up to £5.000.

Out with the GTP

The Government will close down the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) and replace it from September 2013 with a new school-led training programme for career changers.

This employment based training programme will be a strand of School Direct and will be available for candidates who have already gained at least three years experience in other careers.

The Government expects around 5,000 teacher training places to be made available for career changers from September 2013.

Weeding out poor teacher training providers

So how will this impact on existing teacher training providers? Universities rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted will be guaranteed their existing level of places for the next two years. But the Government will no longer guarantee places to institutions rated good or lower. They will compete for training places through School  Direct, designing courses in collaboration with schools. If schools don’t rate their provision, they will go out of business.

Gove said: “We are going to work quickly in identifying and shutting down providers which simply aren’t good enough. If they receive two ‘Requires improvement’ judgements under the new tougher Ofsted framework they will be swiftly de-accredited.”

It’s thought that more than 300 university-based teacher training courses in England could be facing closure or merger.

Commenting on these changes Labour's shadow education secretary Stephen Twgg said: "While schools should play a bigger part in training teachers, the Government mustn't remove the role of universities and colleges. The Government should support the best courses. Dogma must not interfere with teacher training."

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