A comparative study of awarding organisation and HEI initial teacher training programmes for the lifelong learning sector in England

Robin Simmons, Martyn Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper focuses on the changing terrain of initial teacher training (ITT) for the lifelong learning sector in England. Drawing on research with teachers and teacher educators at four different lifelong learning sites, it explores the 'relative value' of different forms of ITT, validated by higher education institutions (HEIs) and alternative awarding bodies. The paper reveals that both teachers and teacher educators perceive HEI programmes as superior to other forms of teacher training, in terms of both labour-market currency and the quality of learning provided. Although the majority of respondents regarded awarding body courses as adequate, our data reveal that most believed that HEI provision offers a significantly richer training experience. Drawing on our data, we argue that state-induced changes to the ITT qualification structure, combined with significant changes in funding and steeply rising costs for university courses, are likely to substantially reduce the likelihood of teachers in the lifelong learning sector accessing HEI-led provision in future. This, combined with the empowerment of employers and the shift back to voluntarism signalled by recent policy initiatives, may well end the involvement of universities with this provision-and drive a shift towards a narrower, more utilitarian regime of teacher training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-368
Number of pages17
JournalProfessional Development in Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


Cite this