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United Kingdom - Teaching Profession

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceUnited Kingdom - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education

TEACHING PROFESSION


As with the founding of public schools for England's masses, so too did the country lag behind other progressive nations in the training of teachers for these schools. Not until the mid-nineteenth century did teacher colleges begin to spring up to meet the needs of schools. Reforms regarding the teaching profession in the United Kingdom stepped up in the 1990s. Most significantly, the 1998 Teaching and Higher Education Act approved the founding of a General Teaching Council for England and Wales. (The law took into account the devolving of Wales and allowed for a relatively smooth change if so desired by the Welsh Assembly). In essence, the General Teaching Council requires registration by the Council and there are agreements as to certain restrictions such as the ban on employment of felons. There also were stipulations and clarifications regarding the inspection of teacher training by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED). OFSTED came into being in England with passage of the 1992 Education Act and is an agency separate and independent; it established reforms in the training of school inspectors.

In 2001, teaching vacancies have caused the 20,000 maintained schools in England and Wales to step up recruiting to keep the two nations' nearly 500,000 teaching positions filled.

The government relies on the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) to provide accreditation and grant funding to institutions providing "Initial Teacher Training" (ITT). The requirements for institutions overseen by the TTA are mandated by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED), TTA is also responsible for the collection of test scores and other educational data that contribute to assessment of various educational providers. The TTA also conducts on-site inspections of teacher training facilities, consults with teacher-training institution administrators, and generally ensures that standards are met for the training of teachers and the re-entrance of former teachers who wish to again find employment in English schools.

In England and Wales, the first year of teaching is called the "induction" year of teaching. Each inductee receives a specially assigned induction tutor, usually a veteran teacher or administrator, to help him or her through a rigorous monitoring and review process. In England, the process is mandatory by government law. In 2001, the National Assembly for Wales has a proposal under consideration for a similar statutory process for the induction year.

Several UK colleges provide teacher training. Unlike Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales where such courses receive educational money grants from higher education funding bodies, England teacher-training programs are funded by the Teacher Training Agency (TTA).


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