Ministers Deny EIS 'Universities Bypass' Claim On Teacher Training

The Scottish Government has denied it plans to bypass universities when tendering for new routes to teacher training after a union raised concerns.

The Government is spending £1 million on ways to attract people into teaching and plans to put a new initiative out to tender aimed at attracting high-quality graduates in priority areas and subjects, sparking fears a lower-quality fast-track scheme would emerge.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) is expected to debate an emergency motion on the issue at its annual general meeting (AGM) in Perth on Thursday.

The proposed motion states: "This AGM condemns the recent decision of the Scottish Government to tender for new approaches to ITE (initial teacher education) which would bypass universities and calls on (the EIS national) council to campaign against any proposals which would reduce the current balance between academic and practical placements.''

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said there is a high degree of concern among members.

He added: "The EIS has always strongly opposed any approach which places delivering education cheaply above guaranteeing quality education provision for all Scotland's young people.

"The emergency motion set to be debated at this year's AGM confirms this position and reaffirms our very strong view that parachuting non-qualified people into schools is not a solution to the recruitment challenges that schools across Scotland are facing.

"We cannot dilute standards for the sake of political expediency.''

A Scottish Government spokesman said there were no plans to bypass universities for a fast-track teacher training scheme.

He said: "As we have made very clear, any new route into teaching will require a partnership with a university to maintain academic rigour and all programmes must be of the highest quality.

"Initial teacher education is provided through universities with all courses accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

"The approach referred to in the EIS motion is not our intention.

"Our plans are about attracting more people with the right skills and abilities to become teachers, by developing new routes and making training available to people from a wider range of backgrounds, and without comprising quality.''

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