Teacher training expanded to two new universities

Written by Tom Freeman on 6 March 2018 in News

Scottish Government accused of “fiddling while Rome burns” over new teacher training course

Edinburgh graduation - cyocum

The number of universities to offer teacher training in Scotland has increased by two.

Edinburgh Napier and Queen Margaret University (QMU) are to offer teaching courses, aimed at tackling shortages in some subjects like science and home economics.

Edinburgh Napier will offer 30 places for a professional graduate diploma in education (PGDE) in science, while QMU will offer 20 places in a PGDE in home economics.

QMU will also run an undergraduate primary course with spaces for 120 students.

The expansion is backed by £1.3m Scottish Government funding.

Alistair Sambell, vice-principal and deputy vice-chancellor at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “Our new teacher education programme will be designed by teachers, for teachers.”

Professor Petra Wend, principal of Queen Margaret University, said: “Our new teacher education programmes align strongly with QMU’s values, experience and strategy of delivering a portfolio of professionally relevant programmes that serve the needs of society.”

Education Secretary John Swinney said: “The two new teacher training courses offer more choice and flexibility for anyone considering teaching as a career, especially in the specialist home economics and STEM subjects where we know there are shortages at the moment.

“I look forward to welcoming the new cohort of students next year and seeing the lasting difference they will make on the profession as well as our young people.”

Kenneth Muir, General Teaching Council for Scotland chief executive, described the expansion as “a landmark development”.

“We must continue to adapt to ensure we do not miss out to other professions on new, high quality teaching talent,” he said.

“It is important that high standards are maintained and we will ensure the courses offered by QMU and Napier Universities satisfy fully our accreditation criteria.”

But the general secretary of the NASUWT union Chris Keates said that “simply expanding the number of places will not address the growing crisis in teacher supply.”

She added: “Pay levels have to be made more competitive with other comparable graduate professions. Until these fundamental issues are addressed, this announcement can only be considered as ‘fiddling while Rome burns’.”

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