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With calls for a post-qualification admissions system, greater transparency around unconditional university offers, and the need for a more ambitious contextual admissions strategy – is the current admissions process fit for purpose or is it ready for a refresh? June Hughes, University of Derby Secretary and Registrar, discusses the complexity of the university system.
As the latest Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) results are published, Sue Reece, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) at Staffordshire University, says the efforts her institution made to move up from a Silver to a Gold award were worth it, despite flaws in the TEF methodology.
Universities awarded funding as part of a large-scale programme to tackle hate crime and sexual harassment on campus have made good progress, an evaluation of the scheme has concluded.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds has urged the Office for Students to adopt “ambitious” new measures “in order to tackle risks to the world class quality of higher education” in the UK.
School-based teacher training is rated higher than university-led training for quality by both students and Ofsted, according to a new report.
Universities are more likely to attract highly-qualified trainees but those on school-based routes are more likely to go on to become teachers, the study concludes.
The government wants more teacher training to be school-based and has been switching funding in that direction. However, university routes still account for 53 per cent of the total of trainees and for nearly 64 per cent of the post-graduate provision, data for the 2013-14 intake shows.
The research, called Good Teacher Training Guide 2015, is by Professor Alan Smithers and Mandy-Diana Coughlan from the University of Buckingham.
It found that all of the top 10 of training provision for quality were school-led, with the top place taken by the Billericay Educational Consortium SCITT (post-graduate primary), North East Partnership SCITT (secondary) and The King Edward’s Consortium, Birmingham (School Direct and salaried routes).
Among universities, the top performers on quality for postgraduate studies were Cambridge University, Birmingham University and Oxford University.
The top three for undergraduate teacher training were Huddersfield University, Durham University and Derby University.
Overall, trainee numbers were down 6.3 per cent on two years ago “probably arising in part from turbulence in the ITT system” says Professor Smithers, but retention was up 6 per cent - likely to be due to “both government’s incentives and the moves to school-led and postgraduate training”.
In total, 86 per cent of school-based trainees went on to become teachers, compared with 80 per cent of post-graduate trainees in universities. Trainees on under-graduate programmes were the least likely to go on to teach – 74 per of final year undergraduate trainees did so.
The universities with the best record for trainees taking up teaching posts were Buckingham University (in 24th position overall), followed by the University of East Anglia (37th) and Cambridge University (43rd).
Universities fared better in terms of entry qualifications. Six were in the top 10 for entrants with good degrees, with Durham, Cambridge, Chester, Oxford, Exeter and York all featuring. However, the top three spots were taken by the Royal Academy of Dance, South West Teacher Training (a consortium of schools) and the North East Partnership, which have much smaller intakes.
Professor Smithers said: “These findings are promising for the Government as it seeks to move, as it said in its White Paper last week, ‘to an increasingly school-led ITT system’. The quality of teacher training in schools emerges as higher in both inspectors’ grades and recent trainees’ ratings. More of the trainees also became teachers.”
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