Carter Review of Initial Teacher Training is published

29 January 2015

In April 2014 Sir Andrew Carter was asked by the Department of Education to review initial teacher training (ITT). The CLA submitted evidence to the Review and were very interested to read Sir Andrew’s report and the government’s response – published on 19 January.

What’s good about it?

The Review identifies:

  • the importance of schools and universities working in partnership to train teachers, regardless of who takes the lead;
  • the importance of subject knowledge for trainees. It also clearly recognises that universities are well placed to provide access to high quality expertise in this area;
  • that initial training must be linked to excellent on-going professional development;
  • that mentoring can offer excellent benefits to the training process;
  • the fact that trainees are more likely to lack subject knowledge, experience and confidence in music at primary level;
  • that teachers should have a good understanding of the pedagogy and practice associated with other subjects – leading to better cross-disciplinary practice.

Carter makes a number of recommendations that might be useful in improving teacher training in arts and cultural disciplines, notably:

  • the development of a framework for the core content for ITT;
  • directing trainees towards subject communities and networks, as well as resources from subject associations;
  • a call for the creation of a portal database of research into effective teaching practice in each subject, and a database of different assessment models and methodologies;
  • a call for universities to create final year ‘bridge modules’ between their subjects and ITT;
  • funded, in-service subject-knowledge enhancement courses for primary teachers;
  • that professional development should be specifically tailored to address this knowledge gap in primary music teaching.

What’s missing?

We are disappointed to see that:

  • music was the only arts subject that was individually recognised in the report. There is no specific mention of the need for further specialist training for art & design, dance or drama;
  • the partnership recommendations don’t include wider partners like Music Hubs or specialist subject associations;
  • there is no mention of careers advice and the need for teachers to understand where to go for good guidance and information on cultural and creative careers;
  • the Review doesn’t mention the further development of specialist teaching schools for cultural learning – something we believe would be of real benefit.

What has the government said?

Government has broadly welcomed the report, and in its response has flagged up its current consultation on the formation of a new ‘College of Teaching’ body, which will take over a great deal of this agenda. The response also flags up the research and the resources of the Education Endowment Fund (EEF). Disappointingly, the government response does not address the Review’s recommendations on music.

We look forward to seeing how this report and the commitments made in the government’s response are taken forward. Let us know your thoughts.