New online teacher training scheme too flexible
An online teacher training programme which aims to combat England's shortage of maths and science secondary schools has been questioned by education associations.
The iTeach programme is run by Canterbury Christchurch University and Hibernia college. It has been designed help those with a degree, achieve a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) qualification to teach maths and science through a combination of online teaching, daily teaching support and school placement training.
It will also give serving teachers, graduate learning support assistants and people with foundation degrees in young people’s learning the chance to gain a qualified teacher status (QTS) in these subjects.
The move supports an initative by the Teacher Training Development Agency to enable potential teachers to study flexibly and will train student teachers in each of the maths, physics and chemistry secondary school curriculum areas in three blocks of concentrated teaching practice.
However, Malcolm Trobe, head teacher and president of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), believes more is needed to ensure a scheme such as this one will work.
“Whilst we do not think that this course is a bad idea, people should think about the amount of work needed to become a maths or science teacher,” he said.
“Many maths and science teachers work for many years to grasp the concept of the subject; they do A-levels and degrees which give them a great understanding.
“There therefore has to be a significant amount of commitment for those who are coming from an English or similar degree background,” he said.
Trobe feels that this commitment will not be able to be achieved through an online flexible service.
However, Simon Hughes UK project director for iTeach disagreed. “The flexibility of this course allows people who would not normally be able to train in such subjects the chance to do so,” he said.
“Because [the course] is online it doesn’t mean it is an easy option.”
He also warned that the requirements to get onto the course will be stringent.
“Like any other course that involves working with children, a criminal records search is carried out on every candidate. We also put those applying for the course through a range of tests to make sure that they have the skills needing to teach.”
This includes a face to face and group interview to see how a candidate interacts with people and a handwriting test to check communication skills. Applicants will also be asked to show proof of qualifications and addresses before they are accepted onto the course.
The iTeach course will run from April. For those interested in taking part in the programme, the deadline for applications is Friday 30th March.
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