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Professor Malcolm Todd, Deputy Vice-Chancellor/Provost (academic and student experience) at the University of Derby, comments on what he sees as the most significant higher education news and opinions making headlines in the first week of 2020.
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University leaders have written to the University and College Union to formally outline their commitment to continuing to work with UCU to deliver long-term reform of the Universities Superannuation Scheme. The move comes as UCU members at 60 universities begin strike action in disputes over both pensions and pay.
A platform providing a single access point for businesses to university expertise and funding opportunities has been further developed by the National Centre for Universities and Business, Research England, and UK Research and Innovation, to help 'smart match' business and industry with higher education institutions, in a bid to boost R&D collaboration. Shivaun Meehan, Head of Communications at the NCUB, outlines the latest features of Konfer.
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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