School-led Initial Teacher Training: Why are schools so attracted to the idea of ‘growing their own teachers’?

Joanne Hill

Abstract

School-led Initial Teacher Training (ITT) is not a new concept, the current position of schools in ITT has been developed in line with government neoliberal agendas since the 1980s. The origins of school-led ITT, however, can be traced back to the Monitorial system of the early nineteenth century where teacher helpers were drawn from more able pupils, replaced in 1846 by the Victorian Pupil-Teacher model (Dent, 1977). This paper focuses specifically on one recent school-led model, School Direct (SD), which promoted schools’ role in recruiting, training and employing teachers as a means of ‘growing their own’. The paper problematises notions of ‘growing your own’, questioning why ‘growing’ teachers has become a seemingly attractive model for schools.

The research basis for the paper drew on data from sixteen participants across four Teaching School Alliances (TSAs) which are school networks who developed and led SD training routes. It embraced multiple stakeholders’ lenses, including both those involved in, and those experiencing training.

My findings conclude that there can be much advantage for schools in ‘growing’ teachers who know and can deliver school pedagogies from the start of their ECT year. However, this purpose of growing your own is very school-centred giving insufficient consideration of training teachers’ needs. For trainees, SD experiences can be very uncomfortable, they describe the subjectivity of being ‘moulded’ to fit within schools’ specific settings along with feelings of powerlessness to challenge pressures exerted on them.

This paper concludes by challenging both the concept and practice of ‘growing your own’ teachers, and questions the risk this poses for the teaching profession’s systemic needs, as well as issues for the children it serves.

 

Hill, J. (2023) School-led Initial Teacher Training: Why are schools so attracted to the idea of ‘growing their own teachers’?. Educationalfutures, [online] Vol. 14(1). Available at: https://educationstudies.org.uk/?p=20860 [Accessed 09 Dec, 2023].