Two more universities to provide teacher training courses

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Two more universities are to offer teacher training courses, Education Secretary John Swinney has announced.

With some schools facing difficulties recruiting classroom staff, he said the move would help to “build capacity within teacher education”.

It comes as the EIS teaching union warned schools are facing a recruitment “crisis” – with this one of the reasons why they are demanding a 10% wage rise for teachers.

Both Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and the capital’s Napier University will provide teacher training courses for the first time from the start of the 2019-2020 academic year.

The Scottish Government is providing £1.3 million for the move, which will create hundreds more opportunities for people to qualify as teachers.

Edinburgh Napier University will initially offer a total of 30 places on a one-year Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) course – which allows those who already have a degree to train as a teachers – with a focus on maths and sciences.

It is planned to expand that into areas such as English and computing, with up to 150 training places after three years.

Queen Margaret University will  recruit up to 120 students to an undergraduate primary course but will also have 20 places on a PGDE course for those who wish to be home economics teachers.

Mr Swinney said: “Teachers have a key role to play in helping us raise standards and close the attainment gap. That is why we are doing everything we can to attract talented and enthusiastic people to the profession.

“We recognise that, in common with many other countries, it is hard to recruit teachers in the numbers we need, particularly in certain specialist subjects.

“Adding two additional universities to the institutions that offer initial teacher education, supported by £1.3 million investment from the Scottish Government, means we can not only recruit additional teachers to take up post within the next two years but build capacity within teacher education.

“The two new teacher training courses offer more choice and flexibility for anyone considering teaching as a career, especially in the specialist home economic and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects where we know there are shortages at the moment.”

Kenneth Muir, chief executive and registrar of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, hailed the move as a “landmark development in the provision of initial teacher education”.

He added: “We must continue to adapt to ensure we do not miss out to other professions on new, high quality teaching talent.

“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.”

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

“As a university we have an applied approach to learning, and student placements in schools will be underpinned by practice-based learning in class, supported by practising teachers.”

Professor Petra Wend, principal of Queen Margaret University, added: “Teacher education at QMU will offer research-informed, practice-based programmes developed in collaboration with professionals from the sector and inspired by the needs of Scottish children and schools today.”

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