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Wider reforms necessary to improve teacher quality

Wider reforms necessary to improve teacher quality, MPs told

Reforms far wider than just improving teacher training are needed to improve teacher quality, the Education Forum today told the Education and Science Committee inquiry into teacher education.

Education Forum chairman, and headmaster of Auckland Grammar School, John Morris told the inquiry that people with "great energy, great toughness of fibre and high intellectual ability" were needed as teachers.

While reform of teacher training was important, much more was required to get such people into the profession, including:

Raising salaries significantly

New roles for teachers and new ways to reward them

More mentoring

Better support for new teachers

Better training.

"We have little chance of catching the knowledge wave and reaching first class standards without first class teachers. We need to do much more than just improve teacher education to get and retain the best people," Mr Morris said.

More flexible paths into teaching were also required, he said. One such programme, successful in the United Kingdom, the United States and parts of Europe, was 'School Centred Initial Teacher Training' where teacher trainees gained their qualifications while working at schools.

"From every point of view there is weight of evidence that such programmes have many advantages over traditional programmes."

Lengthier internships would also help.

"Student teachers in New Zealand will get at most 15 weeks in schools. Teacher trainees in countries such as Germany, France and Chinese Taipei have full year-internships. Without a doubt there is growing importance attached to clinical practice through lengthy student teaching experiences," Mr Morris said.

Education Forum member, and headmaster of Wellington College, Roger Moses and Education Forum policy advisor Norman LaRocque also attended the hearing.

The Education Forum's Notes to accompany its appearance before the Education and Science committee inquiry into teacher education are available from

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