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Initial teacher education update 7 May 2019

The IOP organises annual meetings for tutors and policy makers in secondary initial teacher education (ITE). Below is an overview of what was covered in the meeting on 7 May 2019.

See also our ITE updates for 4 April 2018 and for 7 March 2017.

Welcome remarks – Charles Tracy and Chris Shepherd (IOP)

Initial teacher training (ITT) and subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) recruitment analysis – Mark Crowley (Nottingham Trent University)

Mark Crowley reviewed recent teacher supply model targets and subsequent ITT recruitment. On overview of patterns in ITT recruitment across biology, chemistry and physics was given.

Mark also looked at the take-up of SKE courses.

Mark's presentation (PPT, 2.4MB)

National mathematics and physics school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) – Sarah Yarwood

Sarah talked about the lessons learned following a year of operation at the national mathematics and physics SCITT. Sarah spoke of her students’ experiences of both state and independent schools and the destinations of these trainees.

Sarah also outlined the recruitment process and the challenge of attracting high-quality physics candidates.

Sarah’s presentation (PPT, 4.7MB)

Update from the 2019 PhysTEC Conference – James de Winter (University of Cambridge)

James provided an update following his visit to the March 2019 PhysTEC Conference held in Boston, Massachusetts. The conference is a product of the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers.

James spoke about the nature of physics teacher training in America and the profile of physics NQTs. James also provided an overview of useful publications and essential reading for trainee and practising physics teachers.

James’ presentation (PPT, 2.4MB)

Department of Education (DfE) update – Alison Haines (DfE STEM/MFL priority recruitment)

Alison provided an overview of the DfE’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy. The ensuing discussion covered the competitive recruitment market place, the need for ‘subject specific’ research evidence, the difficulties of finding school placements and thoughts regarding the early career framework.

Alison’s presentation (PPT, 7.8MB)

Effectiveness of KS4 practical work – Sheeba Viswarajan (Cass School of Education and Communities, University of East London)

Sheeba gave a research update on the question: Does the new GCSE science curriculum improve the effectiveness of practical work in Key Stage 4 classes?

Sheeba’s presentation (PPT, 686KB)

Early Career framework – Chris Shepherd (IOP)

Chris Shepherd led a discussion around the early career framework and presented the IOP’s views on the need for ‘subject specificity’ within the approach.

IOP update – Robin Griffiths, Manchi Chung, Alex Mathie (IOP)

Robin Griffiths outlined the IOP’s new regional education structure and encouraged attendees to make contact with their IOP regional education manager. Robin also gave a brief update on the stimulating physics network, the future physics leaders project, the teacher network and the IOP’s newly formed professional practice group led by Rachel Hartley.

Robin’s presentation (PPT, 535KB)

Manchi Chung spoke about the imminent launch of IOPSpark, which brings together all the IOP’s online education resources into a structured and easily navigable platform.

Alex Mathie described the PIPER project’s integration with IOPSpark and how it aims to strengthen links with the teaching and physics education research community, and increase teachers’ use of evidence-based practice.

Good Practical Science – Robert Cremona (Gatsby education team)

Robert reviewed the finding of Gatsby’s 2017 Report, Good Practical Science. Robert presented the reports recommendations, including principles for improving science teacher retention and the main messages for ITE providers:

  • for all trainees to be aware of the value of Practical Science, what it can achieve and the benchmarks framework
  • to give trainees the space to develop practical skills through their training
  • for trainees to use the benchmarks to discuss practical science in their schools
  • to help trainees to understand the importance of technicians
  • to signpost to resources that can help schools meet the benchmarks.

Robert’s presentation (PPT, 4.6MB)

Practical Science – what to say about managing risks – Steve Jones (CLEAPSS)

Steve gave a wide-ranging presentation on the role of CLEAPSS, managing safety in practical science and how important it is to spend time with trainee teachers building their confidence to do more practical tasks. CLEAPSS have a number of resources to support ITE providers that can be accessed through on the CLEAPSS website.

Steve’s presentation (PPT, 1.5MB)

Discussion topics

Chris Shepherd chaired a discussion on the new Ofsted framework for inspection and the ‘knowledge-led curriculum’. The IOP were asked to gain better representation in the debate in this area.

The teaching of energy was discussed following concern that some trainees were facing opposition to the IOP teaching energy approach. There was a stated need for established teachers and the exam boards to engage with the new approach.

A discussion regarding SKE courses raised the concern that the drop in numbers of students coming through was making the courses unviable to certain institutions, particularly with more students taking online courses. It was mentioned that some candidates who have an offer conditional on an SKE were accepting unconditional offers for other ITE providers.