Keeping the Teacher Education Programme “Fit for Purpose”

There are some very interesting things that are done to ensure that the structure, nature and quality of teacher education programmes remain ‘fit for purpose’. What are some of these?

Firstly, via programme review, subject review, self-evaluation and students’ evaluation those leading teacher education programmes ensure the continued systematic analysis of data pertaining to their programmes. They use this data to plan and take actions to improve the students’ experience, monitor the impact of actions taken to improve the students’ experience and to identify areas for improvement in the delivery of programmes. This is important because it helps to enable schools, collaborative partners and the university to be responsive to the needs of the students, employers and programmes.

For the person responsible this may involve: a personal engagement in the data collection process by setting dates and times for the collection and analysis of data and the writing and submission of reports. Via email or face-to-face meetings, issuing timely reminder to key personnel of dates and times for submitting data and facilitating and/or coordinating data analysis meetings. The person may also be responsible for constructing the final report and implementing actions based on findings and recommendations.

Secondly, the leadership of such programmes ensures the continued contribution of schools and collaborative partners to the process of shaping and improving the provision so as to maintain high quality school-based training that closely matches the local needs, and those of employers. This is important because it allows schools and collaborative partners to become fully involved in the programme thus aid in making the provision responsive to the needs of the students and employers.

For the person responsible this may involve: visiting schools and collaborative partners to keep abreast of changes occurring in these institutions; facilitating and/or coordinating joint schools and collaborative partnership meetings; ensuring that appropriate recommendations from schools and/or collaborative partners are implemented and establishing open and frequent dialogue with schools and collaborative partners by keeping emails and telephone contacts and having an ‘open door’ policy. This may also include actions such as prompt responses to emails and telephone calls.

Thirdly, those leading such programmes ensure the continued diverse nature of cohorts. This is important given the focus on diversity and widening participation in UK Higher Education Institutions.

For the person responsible this may involve: developing relations with the Access and Partnership Unit in the institution and participating in their HE workshops as the teacher education representative; being a ‘visual’ presence for the programme at ‘open houses’ or ‘taster day’ and making appropriate presentations during such events.

Fourthly, the leadership of such programmes ensures the continued support for cohorts of students which leads to improvements in retention and attainment. This is important because student retention is an area of concern seeing that local UK HE students are now required to contribute more financially, to their education.

For the person responsible this may involve: developing close relations with the student support unit. Referring students to the unit for counselling and advice on immigration issues, personal and welfare matters, chaplaincy help and guidance, disability issues, health and medical services and informal advice and support on harassment issues.