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‘ITT’ market review – response from the Geographical Association

The GA has submitted its response to a government consultation on the recommendations of a review into the ‘market’ for Initial Teacher Education (ITE), referred to in the consultation as Initial Teacher Training (ITT). Some of the key conclusions reached by the GA are as follows:

  • The GA does not agree with the main proposals contained in the report and believes that, if implemented, these would likely result in the withdrawal of a number of high-quality school and university providers from ITE provision, exacerbating the challenges the sector already faces.
  • The Association recognises that ITE must be subject to a continuous process of improvement and development and that the government, through its regulatory authorities, has a responsibility to hold ITE providers to account and to ensure a measure of consistency across the sector. However, further, continuous improvement is best achieved through an incremental, collaborative approach that builds on, and spreads more widely, existing best practice.
  • The ITT report fails to establish a secure evidence base for the wide-ranging and experimental changes it recommends. It also fails to recognise that the continuous improvements the sector requires can be secured through existing mechanisms for quality assurance and through existing, effective partnerships.
  • The GA is concerned by the level of prescription and limits to academic agency within the report’s recommendations, which risk undermining a critically-engaged professional ITE environment that allows for subject/phase-specific development of geography teachers. Longer-term, this would have significant implications for the status and professionalism of geography teaching.

GA Chief Executive Alan Kinder said:

“As the national association for the teaching of geography, the GA works in close collaboration with a wide range of school and university ITE providers, subject tutors and subject mentors. We are grateful to those members of the geography ITE community who took time to share their thoughts and views with us. In particular, we are grateful for the work of our Teacher Education Phase Committee (TEPC), which collected the evidence and expert opinion from across the community that underpins the GA’s response.

The overwhelming weight of evidence points towards a clear conclusion: the elaborate and experimental system of accreditation proposed by the report is unnecessary and, if implemented, would pose risks to the supply of teachers and academic autonomy in the short term and to the professionalism of teachers in the long term. The GA therefore opposes the key recommendation made by the Government’s expert review group.”