A sustainable workforce through Initial Teacher Education (ITE)

Mark Carver, Paul Adams

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This paper reports on part of the findings of the 6 year, Scottish Government funded project, Measuring Quality in Initial Teacher Education (MQuITE). From data gathered as part of both online questionnaires and in-depth individual interviews, notable themes have emerged concerning the concepts of teacher wastage and loss from the profession across Scotland. Currently configured, any teacher who leaves the Scottish teaching profession is considered to have left teaching. Thus, anyone moving to another part of the UK is deemed wastage, itself a term imbued with covert meaning and intent. When examined in the light of Scottish ITE, it becomes apparent that this policy orientation is reductive. In turn it orients ITE in two ways: as failing if the numbers of those remaining in the profession falls below a certain percentage; and, as only serving to provide schools with teachers. This latter orientation runs the risk of denoting education as solely taking place in schools, and that the work of a teacher is only of benefit if it is carried out therein.

What this paper outlines is a more nuanced way of construing teacher supply, wastage and loss. Centred on the concerns and experiences of students in the final stages of their ITE programmes located at university, or in their first year of teaching (the Induction Year), the paper highlights three things: first, the ways in which students/inductees position themselves vis-à-vis their teacher education experiences as leading to positive destinations that do not always result in a school position; second the ways in which students/inductees relate to teaching in Scotland; and, third, how ITE relates to the professional life-course, vis-à-vis further education, training and development.

The above data implications signal a need to conceptualise teacher workforce development in a more considered way. Further, they call into question the ways in which ITE is construed; the data imply that thought needs to be given to descriptive and normative discussions of ITE; essentially, what does ITE do and what should it seek to do. With this, the paper concludes, outlining that with which Scottish ITE might seek to engage, namely, a reconsideration of the underpinning aims for ITE with regard to teacher supply.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2020
EventSustainability and ethics in teacher education and education policy - Virtual, Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 13 May 202015 May 2020


ConferenceSustainability and ethics in teacher education and education policy
Internet address


  • teacher education
  • sustainable workforce
  • MQuITE project


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