Universities should remain partners in teacher training according to former Education Secretary Estelle Morris.
Baroness Morris, who started her career as a teacher in 1974, spoke in favour of developing the partnership between schools and universities, rather than moving to a more school-centred teacher training approach, as favoured by the government.
Speaking to Headteachers and deputy heads at the Faculty of Education's schools partnership conference last Friday (July 6) Baroness Morris said: “Training is crucial because good teachers are made not born.”
“Like any other profession the body of knowledge which underpins teaching practice will evolve over the years through research, and teachers have a need and a right to have access to that research and knowledge.
Body of knowledge
“Teacher education is about both initial teacher training and ongoing professional development and the notion of schools being allowed to just get on with it won’t work.
“They can’t do it and shouldn’t be isolated like that.”
Baroness Morris, who was Secretary of State for Labour from 2001-2002, talked about how much she believed in the body of pedagogical knowledge which has been amassed through research by universities, something she said didn’t really exist when she was training:
“Teaching is a profession now, before it wasn’t really considered as one. There was no research supporting what we do, it was whether or not you could get on with kids.
“But there is now, research can teach us about new developments that might help us in the classroom and best practice, which is very important both in initial teacher training and continuing professional development.
“Partnerships between schools and universities are crucial to teacher education.”
Baroness Morris gave the keynote speech at the Faculty of Education’s annual partnership conference, an event which is held for schools and colleges who support MMU students in their teacher training, to promote the work of these partnerships and share good practice.
Organised by Helen Scott, the conference gives teachers and head teachers the chance to network, receive continuing professional development and the chance to hear about new initiatives and research in education through a programme of workshops and seminars.
Dean of the Faculty of Education, Andy Jones said: “We were very pleased to welcome Estelle Morris to MMU, as always her comments were inspiring and thought provoking.
“Teacher education is going through a period of change, and so events like this are important for us in order to maintain our relationships with schools and our position within the market.
“I’d like to thank Helen Scott and the other staff who organised the conference and made sure it was a success.”
Manchester Metropolitan University is a leading university for the professions and a powerful driver of the North West economy.
The University educates and trains large numbers of the region’s legal and business professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, health workers and creative professionals. It enjoys an excellent reputation for teaching and applied research and is a recognised innovator in partnership working with its local communities. The University is currently investing almost £300 million in its estate and facilities.
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