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Graham Donaldson’s Report on teacher education, ‘Teaching Scotland’s Future’ argues that:
  • The highest priority must be given, at all levels, to strengthening both teacher quality and leadership in Scotland’s schools.
  • Selection for initial teacher education should be thorough, broad and rigorous and carried out in assessment centres.
  • A minimum level for literacy and numeracy should be agreed and tested at entry to teacher education courses; and student teachers should be expected subsequently to develop their skills to a high level.
  • All teachers should be skilled in supporting the development of literacy and numeracy skills in their pupils and in overcoming barriers to learning such as dyslexia.
  • The BEd degree should be replaced by degrees that combine academic study beyond education with professional studies.
  • Teacher education should be seen as a career-long process, with much closer working amongst schools, universities, local authorities and national organisations.
  • The professional development of experienced teachers should be guided by a new set of standards developed by GTCS.
  • Further high-quality, part-time routes to teaching should be developed.
  • A greater range of teachers’ professional development should be accredited with Master’s-level credits built into ITE qualifications and a Master’s account opened for each teacher.
  • More rigorous procedures should be established to assure the quality at all stages of teacher education.
  • Leadership skills should be developed right from the start of a teacher’s career and better pathways created towards headship.

Donaldson said:-” Since I began my review of teacher education in February 2010, I have been tremendously impressed by the willingness of universities, teachers, councils and a whole host of others to provide information, evidence and views on teacher education in Scotland.

‘It is important to stress, that on the whole I believe Scottish teachers are well qualified, well-motivated professionals doing a good job for their young people day-in day-out.  However, teaching is becoming increasingly challenging and complex and we need to support our teachers and leaders in engaging confidently with that complexity.  My Review is about making sure that we have the best people doing the best job throughout their careers.

‘I hope that I will give everyone with an interest in education food for thought when the read this report. No doubt some of my recommendations will spark a healthy debate. But let me be clear, I firmly believe that that the direction set out in my report will help develop world-leading teachers and leaders who can raise standards, provide a rich educational experience for Scottish children and create the seed corn for a stronger Scottish economy.”

The Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Education Committee welcomes Donaldson’s report on the future of teacher education in Scotland, and broadly agrees with its findings and recommendations. The Committee particularly welcomes in the report:

·              the emphasis on the importance of teachers as the main source of quality in education;
·              the importance of teachers’ having expertise in the subjects which they teach;
·              the importance of primary-school teachers’ having a full understanding of language and of number, the necessary foundations of their being able to teach literacy and numeracy effectively;
·              the urgent need to replace the BEd degree for primary teaching with a more intellectually demanding degree in which student teachers take courses in subjects from across the university (not only from the Faculty or School of Education);
·              the value of an academically rigorous programme of Continuing Professional Development for teachers.

The RSE Education Committee urges that the recommendations of the report be put into practice as soon as possible. This will require strong leadership both nationally and in those institutions with the main responsibility for teacher education – universities, schools and local authorities. The Committee further urges that, in the universities, the leadership of the implementation has to be at the highest level: the changes cannot be achieved by the Faculties or Schools of Education alone.  This implies new kinds of commitment to teacher education initiated by senior management and supported by disciplinary and cross disciplinary programmes across the universities.  Such commitment would recognise the potential for students to arrive at university in the future much better prepared as a result of their teachers’ solid subject backgrounds.

The summary of the report is available here.

What do you think of the report? Are you a teacher, or training to be one?

1 COMMENT

  1. This report is so basic in its approach as to be not only be meaningless but somewhat misleading.

    For example, having teacher friends across Europe, I know how little they have in terms of responsibilities. This is therefore reflected in their pay. But this report does not go into this, while the methodoligy is somewhat simplistic and lacking as to provide a true comparison. Even so, since when is it necessary to say that unlike doctors or say lawyers or any other professional, teachers deserve so little in the way of respect?

    Incidentally, while we are on the subject of pay, HOW MUCH DOES GRAHAM DONALDSON get paid?

    It’s strange how all those professing a need for public workers to be reduced or forgoe pay, happen to be be A/ Public Workers funded by the taxpayers themselves and B/ usually paid significantly more.

    So Mr Donaldson, how much do you get paid by us taxpayers?

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