Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Ministers Think Again on Primary Placement Plans: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Ministers Think Again on Primary Placement Plans: News

Article excerpt

For now, student teachers will not spend more time in schools.

The Government has postponed a plan to increase the amount of time trainee teachers spend on placements in primary schools, amid warnings that the teaching of phonics could be damaged if the plan is implemented.

The Department for Education announced in March that it wanted to increase the time that postgraduate primary trainees spend in schools from 18 to 24 weeks from September. It has now delayed the change until August 2013, after universities warned that they would not have enough time to consult schools or redesign courses.

James Noble Rogers, executive director of the Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers, welcomed the postponement but warned that the plan still risked undermining the teaching of phonics, as schools would struggle to deliver the consistent, high-quality training available in universities.

Considerable work has been done by teacher training providers on phonics over the past five years, he said. Universities could get a single message out to schools that might otherwise have "100 different ways of doing things", he said.

"Universities are on top of the phonics agenda and can be used as a way of getting that message into schools. They will still do that, but this could make it more challenging."

Mr Noble Rogers said that the cut in the time primary student teachers spent in universities would also mean less time on other aspects of training, including behaviour and maths.

"Student teachers ought to spend most of their time in schools - there is no doubt about that," Mr Noble Rogers said. …

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