chapter  7
30 Pages

Teacher Education and Education Policy in England

Formal teacher education in England was developed in the mid-nineteenth century as one of a whole range of professionalized discourses that were addressed to the "crisis" of the city and the social and political "problems" posed by the new urban poor. That crisis engendered a series of political responses that together formed the basis of the modern state. From its origins, teacher education was tightly tied to the development and extension of the education of the working class and was subject to regular and decisive intervention from the state. Significantly, teacher education was subject to state prescriptions and regulations in advance of schooling itself. These interventions, prescriptions, and regulations have been "motivated" in a variety of ways. Politically, recurring moral crises concerning the behavior and values of urban youth and the social authority of the state have focused upon the deficiencies of "the teacher" and the need for "better" or

different forms of teacher preparation. Demographically, the changes in the size of the school population have produced a roller coaster of increases and decreases in the number of teachers in training. Despite (or perhaps because of) this shortterm approach to planning, there have been very few periods when the numbers of teachers in training have matched the needs of the school system. Shortages or surpluses have been more or less the norm. Concomitantly, the number of institutions and departments of teacher education has increased and decreased. Economically, as with many other areas of public spending, teacher education is subject to the vicissitudes of economic policy and financial crises. Cost, as against quality, must be a key factor in any analysis of teacher education policy. (For a more detailed discussion of these issues see Maguire, 1993.) Ideologically, during the 1980s, the Thatcherite/Hayekian critique of state professionals as an inefficient, self-serving clique determined to maintain restricted access and restrictive practices and to resist innovations, was aimed at teachers (as it was at health service workers, civil servants, and local government). In policy terms, this critique had two major outcomes for teachers: one, the introduction of market forces into education, to "break producer capture"; and two, the deregulation of employment and training (which we discuss in some detail below).