A partnership approach to widening access to initial teacher education

Yvonne Bain, Douglas Weir, Iain Bell, Holly Ross

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    This paper focuses on the on-going development of a partnership approach between the University of Aberdeen and local authorities, to create a part-time distance learning teacher education programme (DLITE) which widens access to teaching and creates ‘home grown’ teachers within the local authorities. Responding to the recommendations of the Donaldson (2010) review of teacher education in Scotland, the Scottish Government (2012:12) identified actions in relation to widening access to initial teacher education through the use of part-time provision. Additionally, the implementation strategy of the National Partnership Group (NPG) set up by the Scottish Government to bring together the stakeholders for all phases of teacher development, tasked universities and local authorities to have formal partnership arrangements, including “agreements on resource allocation and staffing, with the opportunity to discuss local needs and adapt delivery accordingly” (NPG, 2012: 9). The DLITE initiative responds to both these issues and seeks to meet the serious staffing difficulties in some parts of Scotland. The programme development depends on a flexible approach requiring discussion and agreement of resource, course processes, and support amongst the partners. However, the developments highlight that successful implementation requires more than focussing on resource allocation and sharing of responsibilities as suggested by the Scottish Government and the National Partnership Group. A number of particular issues are identified, including: clarifying to stakeholders that a new form of involvement is required; widening professional learning beyond that of the ITE students and placement schools in order to achieve a better transition from student to teacher; creating authentic approaches to co-construction of the learning experiences emphasising the equality of university and local authority staff ; and highlighting the value of ‘third spaces’ (Martin, 2011; Zeichner, 2010) for professional learning and development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventTeacher Education Policy in Europe (TEPE) 2015 conference - University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building, Dundee, United Kingdom
    Duration: 14 May 201516 May 2015
    http://www.tepe2015.eu/ (Link to Conference website)


    ConferenceTeacher Education Policy in Europe (TEPE) 2015 conference
    Abbreviated titleTEPE 2015
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


    • teacher education
    • distance learning
    • widening access to teaching
    • partnership


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