TG Escapes Blog

Whatever their colour, the next Government will need to grow our Teacher Training Capacity

by Mark Brown | Apr 20, 2015 | Blog, Education

All the main political parties, and many of the potentially electable minor players, have nailed their colours to the mast and revealed their election manifestos. Notwithstanding the fact that at least one of the party leaders has proven himself a master of the volt face, we have taken a close look at what they all have to say about their plans for education.

I think we can dismiss Nigel Farage’s thoughts about abandoning sex and religious education in primary schools and Natalie Bennet’s desire to scrap Ofsted and increase the age of school admission to 7. I’m afraid that we will also have to resign ourselves to the fact that no one is committing to any real figures and all are glossing over the dramatic increase in pupil numbers (almost half a million over the next parliamentary term) that will be occurring and the capital funding that must be found. We will also have to suspend all cynicism and a niggling belief that they all lie anyway.

Oh yes, we also don’t actually know who is going to win, though a betting, hard-working family chap would probably have a flutter on another coalition. And with the surge in support for the minor parties, the likeliest consequence will be a dramatic increase in their influence. Labour starts with an advantage, as several of the minors are all but certain to align with it. The party can rely on three votes from Northern Ireland’s SDLP (an ideological stablemate), one from the Greens, and one each from George Galloway and Lady Hermon: support from Plaid Cymru is also likely. Nick (no tuition fees) Clegg, an adept executor of the volte face, is likely to want to continue his ministerial role whichever of the big two triumphs.

Labour is putting teaching standards at the top of its education agenda, pledging to ensure that all teachers, in every classroom in every state school in the UK, are fully qualified. Similarly, the Liberal Democrats are promising that the core national curriculum will be taught by qualified teachers in every school and the Greens echo the sentiment. Labour is also committed to offer teachers more opportunities to build their skills via quality professional development training and, likewise, Plaid Cymru wish to improve teacher training. So, with a majority of the minors itching to increase both the quantity and quality of training offered to teachers, it is fairly likely that it will become a policy reality during the next parliamentary term, particularly if Labour head up the coalition.

Rather like the reluctance by all parties to commit to a strategy to provide extra classroom space, none are specifying how and where this extra training will occur. However, there will undoubtedly be a need for investment in training facilities, some of which is likely to follow the ethos of one of the Learning Escape’s most recent projects. Our customer was appointed as a national teaching school, following its outstanding Ofsted inspection. As their existing school buildings were full to capacity with pupils, they needed to build a teacher training facility, within the school grounds, but offering a degree of separation from the main school.

The Learning Escape have always believed in the powerful, positive impact that the teaching environment can have upon how we feel, our behaviour and our capacity for learning. However, it is not only students who benefit from an inspirational learning space. We invite you to take a look at the testimonials of Sacred Heart Primary School (who required a dedicated training facility) and Willows Primary School, who wanted a more flexible space that could be enjoyed by the wider school community when not in use for staff training. It was great to hear from Sacred Heart that so far 100% of delegates have deemed the space, with its outlook onto the beautiful school grounds and its fantastic natural lighting, to be the perfect environment in which to learn to teach.

Elections can be nervous times for those working in education bringing the uncertainty of potential policy change and disruption. One thing that we can be certain of is that schools will need to accommodate more students and staff alike. Whatever type of additional space you are short of, we may be able to help and design exactly what you need to fit uniquely into your school grounds. 

About the author

Consultant at TG Escapes - Mark has spent time growing up with the army, studying computing before the internet existed, and founding The London Classic Theatre Company, self sustaining for over 25 years. He trained in marketing with Unilever before moving into advertising as a strategist with Leo Burnett, Creative Director at Starcom and founder of award winning creative agency Weapon7. He has a passion for eco buildings and helps run the social enterprise Street Wisdom, providing free creative walkshops around the world.

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