What do teachers need to know?

Initial teacher training underwent significant, perhaps fundamental, reform under the previous Coalition administration. A practical experience-based approach was favoured. Former Education Secretary, Michael Gove, argued that teaching should be understood as a ‘craft’ that was ‘best learnt as an apprentice observing a master’. Following this, funding shifted decisively to school-led programmes, in the belief that these would provide a common-sense alternative to the overly theoretical or ideological approach of many university-based programmes.

So what knowledge, skills and experiences do new teachers need? Does it help be understand teaching as a craft, a science, perhaps even an art? What balance should be struck between theory and practice? Do we need a new College of Teaching to act as a professional gatekeeper? And with increasing numbers of Academies now employing unqualified teachers, do teachers really need formal certification beyond their first degree?

Speakers include:


David Perks –  the Principal of the East London Science School. David has campaigned for the teaching of physics, chemistry and biology for all pupils as separate disciplines and authored the lead essay in What is science education for? published by the Institute of Ideas in 2006. He has contributed to the development of the new science National Curriculum and is a leading member of the Knowledge Network a group of forward thinking schools pushing for knowledge-led curriculum reform. He is also a director of the Physics Factory, a charity working to enhance the delivery of physics in London’s schools.

SurmanRalph Surman – a  National Executive Committee member of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), where he serves as the policy officer. Ralph is the Chair of the Standing Committee for the Education and Training of Teachers (SCETT) and is deputy head teacher of Cantrell Primary School, Nottingham.


Alison Hardman  – Alison has been a Senior Lecturer in Post-Graduate Initial Teacher Education at the University of Derby for over a decade. She has just completed her doctorate on the fragile state of teacher education today.  Before that she trained to be an English teacher and taught across Staffordshire for over 10 years.

Ian Stevenson – Ian is the Regional Secretary of the National Union of stevensonTeachers (NUT).

Tracy Cole – Tracy is the East Midlands Regional Organiser of the NASUWT.

Chair: Professor Dennis Hayes  – Dennis is an organiser of the East Midlands Salon and the Hon Secretary of SCETT. STAR

Date and Time: Tuesday 17 November 2015 at 7 PM

Hallmark Midland Hotel, Derby.

Tickets available on Eventbrite: £5 (£3 concessions):


Some useful readings:

Toby Young   Prisoners of the Blob: why most education experts are  wrong about nearly everything

SCETT   In Defence of Teacher Education

Dennis Hayes  The 50 Great Books on Education:

Available from the University of Derby Open Repository

or in The Conversation (with comments)

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