Simmons, Robin and Walker, Martyn (2013) A Comparative Study of Awarding Organisation and HEI Initial Teacher Training Programmes for the Lifelong Learning Sector in England. Professional Development in Education, 39 (3). pp. 352-368. ISSN 1941-5257

This paper focuses on the changing terrain of initial teacher training (ITT) for
the lifelong learning sector in England. Drawing on research with teachers and
teacher educators at four different lifelong learning sites, it explores the ‘relative
value’ of different forms of ITT, validated by higher education institutions
(HEIs) and alternative awarding bodies. The paper reveals that both teachers
and teacher educators perceive HEI programmes as superior to other forms of
teacher training, in terms of both labour-market currency and the quality of
learning provided. Although the majority of respondents regarded awarding
body courses as adequate, our data reveal that most believed that HEI provision
offers a significantly richer training experience. Drawing on our data, we argue
that state-induced changes to the ITT qualification structure, combined with significant
changes in funding and steeply rising costs for university courses, are
likely to substantially reduce the likelihood of teachers in the lifelong learning
sector accessing HEI-led provision in future. This, combined with the empowerment
of employers and the shift back to voluntarism signalled by recent policy
initiatives, may well end the involvement of universities with this provision –
and drive a shift towards a narrower, more utilitarian regime of teacher training.

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