Tighter rules and more transparency for exam board seminars are welcome but more needs to be done to support teaching quality

The Teacher Development Trust, a charity founded by teachers to improve the educational outcomes for children by ensuring they experience the most effective learning, has today (26th July 2013) welcomed Ofqual’s change of heart about banning exam seminars and instead ensuring that all teachers have equal access to the material that is delivered. 

TDT urges exam boards to go one step further and ensure that the new seminars will not only deliver content information but will also help schools deliver higher quality teaching. This will also help the boards attain higher ratings on the Trust’s free national database of teacher training, GoodCPDGuide.com, which has a strict code of practice and teacher reviews to support our campaign for higher quality training.

Responding to today’s announcements, David Weston, CEO of the Trust said:

“With the huge volume of forthcoming changes in the examination and assessment systems it is vital that schools have the support to understand the new requirements and the changes from previous systems. Every year we hear stories about pupils who have lost out when their teachers have misunderstood syllabus changes, so Ofqual has made the right decision to ensure that all teachers will continue to have access to the relevant training while tightening controls to ensure that attendees are not given unfair advantages.

However, while exam seminars and online materials are effective channels to deliver new syllabus information, they are never going to be sufficient to change and improve deeply-ingrained teaching habits. Exam boards need to do much more to help schools implement the long-term planning and training that is necessary to make sure that examination and curriculum change leads to genuinely raised standards. “

Research has shown that a great deal of the professional development available in education is of insufficient quality to transform and improve existing habits and practices – indeed one study suggested that only 1% of on-the-job training in schools was genuinely transformative.

The Teacher Development Trust advocates approaches that are based on international best practice which suggest that the most effective training is collaborative, sustained over a long period of time, specifically focused on relevant outcomes for participants, and involves an external expert supporting and challenging progress.

The comments come shortly after the launch of the Trust’s National Teacher Enquiry Network (NTEN) at the Houses of Parliament. NTEN is a collaborative partnership of schools and colleges focused on innovation and improvement through highly effective and evidence-based professional development and learning. It has been developed alongside schools, in consultation with experts, through a series of pilots supported by the National College for Teaching and Leadership and the National Union of Teachers. The Network will be supporting the schools implement the new examinations and the new curriculum in a rigorous and effective way.