The Cambridge Faculty of Education is set to establish a three-form entry primary school, focussing on research-based teaching and learning practice.
The University of Cambridge Training School (UCTS) will provide practical training for students taking the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at Cambridge while also teaching 630 four- to six-year-olds.
The plans have received support from some locals, including Nick Robinson, headmaster of King’s College School, who praised the University for, “leading the way in developing research-based exemplary teaching and learning among primary children.” He also looked forward to more widespread change, saying, “I hope that this will lead to Oxford and other Universities also following suit as it will undoubtedly lead to an excellent model for teacher training and school focussed academic research.”
Professor Ernesto Macaro, director of the Faculty of Education, put forward the newly established Oxford Education Deanery as Oxford’s, “way of responding to the current challenges and opportunities in England in relation to initial teacher education, professional development of teachers and in general the improvement of standards in schools.” The scheme works in conjunction with existing local schools, attempting to strengthen links between them and the University PGCE course.
Professor of Teacher Education, Ian Mentor, suggested that the Oxford Education Deanery’s educational network meant that there is no need for a similar school in Oxford. He commented, “Given the range of schools within the city and the county that the University already has strong relationships with, it was decided that there were unlikely to be any major benefits in setting up yet another school.”
Opinion amongst students was similarly divided. One student was reluctant to support a primary school “specifically designed for teacher training and research. It might create an artificial environment and skew potential conclusions drawn from the research due to the narrow pool from which the teachers are chosen.”
A spokesperson from Cambridge’s Education and Access department assured Cherwell that the scheme would be state-run and wholly inclusive.