Institute for Teaching launches to create ‘expert teachers’

Schools collectively spend more than £1 billion every year on teacher development but it mostly doesn’t help them get better, the education secretary has said ahead of the launch of a new graduate school for teachers to help solve the problem.

Teachers who want to train as teacher-educators will be able to sign up for courses developed using expertise from a fields including fast-jet pilots and ballerinas at the Institute for Teaching, which launches in Manchester today.

Last month it secured a share of £75 million of government money, to help teachers progress in their careers without having to leave the classroom and move into school management.

Justine Greening will attend the launch and is expected to say that high-quality professional development must be “a fundamental part of a teacher’s career”.

“These new programmes – backed by government funding – will give them the skills, confidence and knowledge they need to provide a world-class education for all children,” she said.

“What we’ve learnt is that there are many similarities between how people become experts,” Peps Mccrea, the IfT’s associate dean, told Schools Week. “While the needs of teachers are unique, we have much to learn by looking sideways at what other sectors have learnt about developing expertise in systematic and scalable ways.”

The courses available include a “fellow’s” course designed to help experienced teachers become “teacher-educators”, and a master’s in expert teaching for those who want to develop advanced techniques.

A “transforming teaching” programme funded by a government grant will meanwhile offer school leaders the chance to improve their skills in developing the teachers in their schools.

The institute will be led by founder and director Matt Hood, a former school leader and government policy adviser.

“Having an expert teacher in every classroom is the best way to make sure that every pupil, regardless of their background, gets a great education,” said Hood. “To improve teaching, we have to improve the training teachers get.”

A series of new providers have stepped into the education market to deliver other extended teacher training opportunities.

The National Institute of Education, delivered in partnership with the University of Buckingham,  launched last month in an early bid to enter the teacher apprenticeship market, offering courses all the way to master’s level.

Teach First and Ambition Schools Leadership are also both offering a series of new training initiatives aimed at supporting teachers to be come better leaders or team players.

The work of the Institute for Teaching will be supported by a range of other organisations, including the charity Ambition School Leadership, the law firm Clifford Chance, and the Relay Graduate School of Education, an American non-profit institution for higher education.

See this week’s edition of Schools Week for Matt Hood’s full profile.

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  1. Being connected to and underpinned by TFA, its political and corporate donors, and the global education privatisation movement, doesn’t make anyone an expert. Expertise isn’t just about offering something different, or rehashing and rebranding old, outdated ideas either. And we already have graduate schools for teachers. They’re called universities.

    If this ‘institute of experts’ really is so knowledgeable, then they should be engaging in discussion of their ideas, testing them on others. They certainly shouldn’t be claiming expertise until they’ve earned it.