GuildHE and Universities UK (UUK) have responded to proposals to reform teacher training, outlined in Education Secretary Michael Gove’s schools White Paper, published today.

There have been suggestions that teacher training should be moved away from universities. Breaking this link, according to Universities UK, could put quality at risk and “unravel many years of progress in the development of excellent teachers”.

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “Higher education makes a massive contribution to developing high quality teaching in schools. This is demonstrated by the Annual Ofsted Report which, following rigorous inspection, rates almost half of higher education institutions delivering teacher education as outstanding (47%) and a stunning 94% of HEIs as either outstanding or good.

“This is not just something for higher education to celebrate, for many years now universities and higher education colleges have developed strong, positive and effective partnerships with schools. Trainee teachers on higher education courses now spend more of their time in schools than in lecture halls demonstrating higher education’s commitment to ensuring both academic and practical excellence in the teachers that they train.

“Any changes arising out of the White Paper, in the interests of developing excellent teachers and improving the quality of teaching in schools, need to build upon the excellent provision of higher education institutions and the strong partnerships that they have with schools.”

Professor Sir Robert Burgess, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester and chair of the UniversitiesUK/GuildHE Teacher Education Advisory Group, said: “Across the world, it is through the active engagement of universities in teacher education that world-class schooling is being created. Research and inspection evidence is unequivocal. The best teacher education happens when universities and schools co-operate as full partners in the design, development and delivery of teacher education for the development of excellent teachers.

“These partnerships provide an excellent foundation for taking forward the proposals in the White Paper, to undermine or abandon these partnerships would put quality at risk, reduce the status of teachers and unravel many years of progress in the development of excellent teachers.”

Andy Westwood, Chief Executive of GuildHE, said: “Teacher training institutions are demonstrably one of the most successful parts of our university system. This success is based on close collaboration with all types of schools and education authorities, blending theoretical and practical learning accordingly. These boundaries will now shift but we should do all that we can to build on this success rather than cast it aside.”

For more information, please contact:

Andy Westwood
CEO, GuildHE
Tel: 020 7387 7711

Notes to editors
1. GuildHE is a recognised higher education representative body. Its 32 members are among the most dynamic and fastest-growing institutions in the sector. 

2. A copy of the white paper can be downloaded at the Department for Education’s website:

3. The Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2009/10