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Interview with Vince Russel - April 2009

The University of Worcester’s Institute of Education has been in existence since 2004. It is one of WMCETT’s provider partners, delivering and overseeing teacher training programmes, and also one of its five higher education regional partners. WMCETT also has a satellite office at the University of Worcester.

The Institute runs courses for initial teacher training at several levels in Early Childhood Studies. It provides different routes into primary teaching from the three-year undergraduate course to the one-year Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and the one year Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP).

The Children’s Literature, Literacy and Creativity International Research Centre on site offers specialist opportunities for study, including Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

The Centre for Management, Leadership and Post Compulsory Education is part of the Institute and runs postgraduate programmes leading to MA, MSc and Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma and administers the Postgraduate Education Programme (PEP) which includes the development of CPD provision.

The PEP offers opportunities for teachers and graduates with individual modules of CPD training available, or the possibility of working towards qualifications.

There is also an undergraduate CPD programme which has attracted learning support workers, nursery nurses working in education settings, police trainers, and teachers and trainers in FE.

The Centre has developed partnerships with colleges across the region and delivers post compulsory teacher training programmes including PTLLS, CTLLS and DTLLS. There are monthly Partnership Advisory Group meetings to make sure all involved keep up to date with developments.

Vince Russel, Head of the Centre for Management, Leadership & Post Compulsory Education, said: “The post compulsory section sits alongside management and leadership which is basically a Masters programme in Education Management and Leadership and we are starting to get some cross over between the two. We are getting more people working in FE doing the Masters and also staff teaching management working in the post compulsory sector teaching management issues so there’s quite a nice balance developing.”

He said the Institute delivers initial teacher training in four partner colleges and is looking to develop links with more at some point. “We have got very good feedback in terms of the strength of our partnerships.”

The delivery of the PTLLS, CTLLS and DTLLS programmes has been developed to give participants flexibility to change the level of qualification they are aiming for.

Vince said: “It’s basically a DTLLS programme which gives an opportunity for exit points for PTLLS and CTLLS. It means we have to be flexible with the assessment in Year One to allow that. People generally sign on for DTLLS but we are increasingly getting people exiting at CTLLS. Technically we could deliver discrete CTLLS and PTLLS.”

The programme has been recognised as well designed by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) and Standards Verification UK (SVUK).

The integration of the Minimum Core into the DTLLS programme, making sure teachers can demonstrate how they will develop the literacy, language and numeracy skills of learners through their specialist subjects, is also recognised as being well designed and well documented.

Use of new technology and e-learning is one area the Institute is looking to develop more, though on line learning is increasingly being used in modules of taught programmes.

The Institute’s participants in CPD courses are largely though not exclusively FE staff, and the start of the courses is flexible – they have started in September, January, February and April.

The CPD Diploma has also been taught at the university for the past four years, enabling people who have taken initial teacher training delivered in colleges to top up their qualifications to increase their specialist knowledge. Three diplomas are taught, in Adult Literacy, Adult Numeracy and ESOL.

Vince said: “A particularly positive thing this year is we have a strong cohort of mathematics which there isn’t in many places. We had one two years ago when we had 17 people doing it, and this year we have 10 so it’s increasing the maths specialists.”

Last year the university ran a programme of CPD workshops for people working in initial teacher training in the lifelong learning sector after an evaluation of the training needs of college-based teacher trainers. Themes included the integration, tracking and recording of the minimum core skills, supporting diversity, equality and inclusive approaches and mentoring development, and mentoring development.

Vince added: “We are looking forward to increasing involvement with WMCETT and the West Midlands Higher Education Partnership [set up by WMCETT in September 2007]. For us they have been very helpful in terms of broadening our perspective and increasing our networking.”

For more information about the Institute of Learning see www.worc.ac.uk/departments/661.html