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Title: Primary headteachers' perceptions of training teachers fit to practise within changing landscapes of teacher training
Author: Barron, Elaine Bernadette
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 1008
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2015
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Recent changes to the provision for teacher training have seen a move to place greater responsibility for the training of teachers with schools rather than with Higher Education Institutes. The rationale appears to be the view that this will produce the kind of teachers schools are looking to employ. However, there appears to be little research focused on the opinions of the senior management of primary schools about whether they believe this to be the case, whether they feel schools are in a good position to undertake this training, and what impact they perceive such a move will have on primary schools. This study took a constructivist grounded theory approach to explore primary school headteachers’ perceptions of how best to train primary school teachers seen by them as fit to practise and what they perceived schools could and could not provide to support this outcome. Data were initially collected in a feasibility study exploring the views of the headteacher, the school-based mentor and the former trainee teacher in identifying their perceptions of factors which contributed to the outstanding outcome for a trainee on the Graduate Trainee Programme on the completion of his training year. Reflections on one of these factors in particular, that of the crucial role of the headteacher in enabling the successful outcome, at a time when a number of significant reforms to teacher training were being implemented, prompted a reconsideration of the focus of the main study to an exploration of headteachers’ perceptions of training teachers seen by them as fit to practise in primary schools in a changing landscape of teacher training. Twelve primary school headteachers participated in semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed utilising a constant comparison method (Strauss and Corbin, 1990; Charmaz, 2006). Conclusions from a small scale study cannot easily be generalised. However the findings from the main study suggested the headteachers believed teachers who were fit to practise demonstrated the ability to think critically about their practice and that this attribute was under-represented in standards for teachers. In terms of training to become teachers fit to practise the headteachers supported the viewpoint of the primacy of practice but believed that practice alone was not sufficient to develop the teachers they sought to employ in their schools. In order to become critical thinkers trainee teachers needed to study the theory underpinning the teaching in schools. This study should be guided by experts, who most of the headteachers identified as academic partners, in teacher training located outside of the school. There was a measure of hostility from some of the headteachers to the idea that a teaching school could fulfil this expert role. The headteachers used a number of synonyms to describe the teachers they were seeking but all appeared to mean teachers fit to practise in their schools. The headteachers believed they had the ability to recognise the potential to become a teacher fit to practise in applicants to teaching and they used this to identify trainee teachers who would fit their schools. With greater responsibility for teacher training moving to schools this highlighted issues of equality of opportunity and a potentially insular approach to the training and recruitment of teachers. According to the headteachers, schools which participated in teacher training required at least a good Ofsted grade, a climate and skilled staff to support novices and strategic leadership by the headteacher. As part of the remit of this strategic leadership the headteachers perceived it was their role to protect their schools from external pressures such as Ofsted inspections. This, they believed, gave them the autonomy to decide on their level of participation, if any, in teacher training on an annual basis. Recommendations for further research, policy and partnerships have been made.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: primary headteachers ; training ; change ; teacher training ; primary education ; X320 Academic studies in Primary Education