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BERA Statement on the Initial Teacher Training Market Review Report

BERA is extremely concerned about the recommendations made in the Initial Teacher Training Market Review Report (MRR) commissioned by the Department for Education. We are particularly troubled by:

  1. the lack of a robust research base to warrant the recommendations
  2. the risks that the recommendations pose to the quality of teacher education and training in England
  3. the likely negative impacts on university education departments and all colleagues in those departments, and the consequent negative impacts for universities in general.

Teacher education and training has long been a vital part of education as an academic discipline in universities. Since BERA’s inception in 1974 we have continued to support education researchers and all educators in relation to the important debates that link education practice and education research. The recommendations of the MRR, if adopted, would marginalise and compromise the autonomy of initial teacher training programmes within HEIs. The report therefore represents a challenge to academic freedom in universities.

BERA welcomes, in general, the emphasis in the MRR on the importance of research evidence to inform teacher training. However, the report gives no indication of how and why the research studies and other evidence that it cites to back up its points were selected. It is now well understood that serious risks arise if reports are not systematic and transparent about their selection of research studies to underpin particular conclusions and recommendations.

The MRR is now subject to a public consultation, and BERA recommends that as many of our members as possible respond to it. BERA is in the process of drafting its own response which, when published in the coming days, may help members to prepare their own submissions ahead of the deadline of Sunday, 22 August.

BERA also believes it is vital that the public consultation responses, and any government analyses of responses, are published in full so that researchers and all concerned can apply proper scrutiny to the government’s response.